The Law Offices of Ronald B. Laba Is Your Source for Information
As a "bridge" between Mexico and the state of California, as well as a major transportation hub in itself, San Diego County is scene to many thousands of auto accidents every single year. Highways like Interstate 5 and SR-94 are particularly congested and dangerous, but truck, car, and motorcycle accidents happen every day throughout San Diego and the whole surrounding area.
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in an auto accident in Southern California, we at the Law Offices of Ronald B. Laba are here to help. We understand how overwhelming the mountain of medical bills, loss of income, property damage, pain and suffering, and psychological trauma of an accident can be. We help you collect full and fair compensation for all losses sustained due to the negligent or reckless conduct of others. We focus on the legal aspect so that you can focus on the recovery process.
When an irresponsible driver, a negligent trucking company, or faulty manufacturing lead to your involvement in an accident, you have the right to be reimbursed for your losses. Under California law, you have two full years from the date of the accident before the statute of limitations runs out. It is best, however, to act quickly while evidence and witnesses are readily available to increase your chances should your case go to trial.
Unscrupulous insurance companies will often try to pressure you into a take-it-or-leave-it, low-ball settlement offer. We know how to successfully negotiate for a fair settlement and win in court if necessary. Contact us today for a free, one-hour case consultation at 844-439-8969, and we will be happy to help you collect the compensation you are entitled to.
8 of the Most Common Types of Car Accidents in San Diego
At our San Diego law firm, we have seen every type of car accident you can imagine. Over the years, we have noticed (and statistics confirm) that the most common kinds of car accidents in San Diego are as follows:
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Hit and Run Accidents
- Rear End Accidents
- Distracted Driving Accidents
- Texting While Driving Accidents
- Left Hand Turn Accidents
- Red Light Accidents
- Stop Sign Accidents
Below, for your benefit, we go into each of these eight accident types in more detail:
1. Drunk Driving Accidents in San Diego
Despite the fact that the extreme danger of driving under the influence of alcohol is well known, there are nonetheless, millions of drivers who do it every year. It is not at surprising that drunk driving is one of the leading causes of major auto accidents, accounting for a huge amount of property damage, personal injuries, and fatalities in San Diego, California, and the country at large. Drunk drivers are a danger to themselves, to other drivers (and passengers), and to pedestrians walking/biking near the highway.
In 2013, the California DMV indicates there were 1,197 alcohol-involved crash fatalities in California and 23,178 alcohol-involved crash injuries. Thirty-nine percent of all crash fatalities were associated with alcohol use, as were 10% of all crash-caused injuries. Also alarming is the fact that 160,388 California DUI arrests were made in 2013.
In 2012, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility reported that 72% of alcohol-related fatalities had at-fault drivers with BAC levels twice the legal limit of .08% and that 79% of alcohol-related accidents caused by a repeat offender involved a BAC level twice .08%
In 2010, San Diego County HHS reported that 2,126 were injured and 74 killed just within San Diego County in alcohol-related auto accidents.
Clearly, the numbers on drunk driving injuries and death are startlingly high and a persistent problem year after year. Alcohol's ability to impair drivers' alertness and slow their reaction times leads to running stops signs and stoplights, uncontrolled acceleration in the midst of traffic, failure to yield and properly share the road, and a host of other dangerous actions. Drunk drivers also are far more likely to do a hit-and-run to avoid getting slapped with a DUI.
Ron Laba understands the seriousness of drunk driving accidents and works hard to win fair compensation for victims of the wrong choices of others. He has the expertise to successfully pursue maximum reimbursements for all losses sustained along with punitive damages to help prevent future incidents.
Damages in Drunk Driving Cases: A Different Story Entirely
For most traffic accidents, claims include compensation for medical expenses, loss of work, pain and suffering, and psychological trauma—but not punitive damages. In the case of drunk driving, however, punitive damages do apply.
This first became the case in 1979, when in Taylor v. Superior Court, the California Supreme Court ruled that drunk driving will typically qualify for punitive damages. The judges first noted that punitive damages are awarded based on the legal theory called "conscious disregard." This means that the "defendant was aware of the probable dangerous consequences of his conduct, and that he willfully and deliberately failed to avoid those consequences.”
They next noted that the person who "consumes alcoholic beverages to the point of intoxication, knowing that he thereafter must operate a motor vehicle, thereby combining sharply impaired physical and mental faculties with a vehicle capable of great force and speed, reasonably may be held to exhibit a conscious disregard of the safety of others.”
Finally, it was asserted that "The purpose of punitive damages is not only to punish for your actions, but also to deter any future like conduct" and concluded that "Because punitive damages can be assessed in drunk driving cases, awards in drunk driving cases can be greatly increased."
Thus, drunk driving is reckless to the point of "unreasonably disregarding the safety of others." For this reason, claims against drunk drivers for injury or wrongful death can sometimes be greatly increased.
2. Hit-and-Run Accidents in San Diego
In California, it is illegal to "flee the scene of an accident." Nonetheless, many commit this offense, leaving behind injured victims who could die without immediate medical attention and attempting to rid themselves of their responsibility to financially compensate those whom they have injured.
In many cases, hit-and-run accidents are committed by uninsured motorists. Victims may then rely on uninsured motorist coverage in their own insurance policies, but insurers still sometimes attempt to deny or under-pay such claims. Ron Laba knows how to negotiate with insurance companies to ensure they honor their commitments.
HHS of San Diego County reports that, in 2010, there were 1,005 injuries and six fatalities due to hit-and-run accidents in the county. Many of these befell pedestrians/cyclists in high-risk areas, such as the crosswalks by the busy San Diego Zoo or the beautiful beach walks of Camino Del Mar and La Jolla. It is tragic that so many vulnerable pedestrians fall victim to hit-and-runs in San Diego and North Counties every year.
At the Law Offices of Ron Laba, we advise those who have suffered from a hit-and-run accident to do all of the following as soon as possible to be legally prepared:
- Get medical attention as quick as possible. Do not assume that you are fine if you do not feel injured. Whiplash and certain internal injuries can sometimes take weeks to detect without a physician's aid.
- If at all possible, get the license plate number of the offending driver. Also try to catch the make/model, color, and other details of the vehicle he/she was driving.
- Never follow a hit-and-run vehicle. It could be driven by a criminal or someone with violent tendencies. The risk is simply too high.
- Call the local police, and inform them of all relevant information concerning the accident. Do this without delay.
- Contact a lawyer, like Ron Laba, who has deep experience in fighting and winning hit-and-run accident claims.
- Contact your insurer to initiated a claim. Do not settle for the first offer unless advised by your lawyer to do so. Remember that claims adjusters benefit by keeping your claim to a minimum.
3. Rear-End Accidents in San Diego
The most common kind of accident in San Diego, as elsewhere, is the rear-end accident. The County of San Diego HHS tells us that, in 2010, there were 9,536 people injured in such accidents in the county and that 33 died when rear-ended.
Although insurers may try to treat your rear-end accident as a minor affair, the truth is that even low-speed rear-end crashes can seriously injure the neck and back. Painful whiplash may result, and it may take up to three weeks for it to appear. You may have been injured much more than your insurance company would like to admit.
The three most common causes of rear-end accidents are speeding, tailgating, and distracted driving. Of course, it could also be any combination of the above, such as following too close at high speeds while not paying adequate attention. Texting while driving, drunk and/or reckless driving, and running red lights will also often be involved.
Many assume that, if they have been rear-ended, they have an easy case and do not need a lawyer. However, this is not always the case. Even in the most obvious circumstances, at-fault drivers and insurers will often seek to get out of paying you a fair settlement. They can hire defense attorneys who are skilled at accomplishing this for them, making it imperative for you to have a legal expert fighting for you as well.
4. Distracted Driving Accidents in San Diego
"Distracted driving" is a term that covers a wide range of driving habits, all of which take the driver's attention away from the road either mentally or physically. Some of the most common distracting activities that lead to auto accidents are:
- Texting or talking on the phone
- Eating and drinking
- Reading a map or book
- Adjusting the radio, AC, or heater
- Using a GPS system
- Lighting a cigarette/cigar
- Talking to passengers
- Brushing hair or putting on make-up
- Attending to kids or pets on board
The County of San Diego HHS reports that, in 2010, there were 250 car crashes specifically labeled "distracted driving accidents." However, that doesn't tell the full story, for there were 22,576 injured in auto accidents in some way related to driver distraction.
Distracted driving can occur anywhere on the highway, but the most common locations where it leads to an accident are:
- At stop lights
- At stop signs
- Near yield signals
- At intersections
- At crosswalks
It can be much more difficult than most imagine to prove fault based on distracted driving. Drivers often deny they were distracted despite the evidence, while insurance companies stone-wall or make low-ball offers. You will need the help of an experienced attorney like Ron Laba to ensure you collect the compensation you deserve. When you or a loved one have been injured or killed because another driving was not paying attention, you cannot afford to bear the losses uncompensated. Even if you have pictures and other documentation from the scene of the accident, your chances of success are greatly increased when you use the services of a well-trained injury lawyer.
5. Texting While Driving Accidents in San Diego
One major variety of distracted driving that merits special attention is "texting while driving," which is specifically banned in California law. In San Diego and North Counties, texting while driving has become a major scourge, as many seem unable to pay attention to the road instead of their phones even while behind the wheel.
In 2010, according the San Diego County HHS, cell phones contributed to 29 auto accident injuries. Nationally, texting while driving kills more teenagers than do DUIs, and in 2011, 23% of all auto collisions involved cell phones. Even five seconds with your eyes off the road, at 55 mph, can take you the length of a football field, which makes it easy to understand why texting makes an accident 23 times more likely.
The importance of smartphones in our modern society has not led everyone to use them "smartly." Phones now offer immediate access to the Internet, email, social sites, and texting partners. A diverse group is guilty of frequently texting while driving, ranging from young college students to professional businessmen with fast-paced lifestyles. Texting, talking, taking smartphone pics, and browsing the Web keep many from seeing a vehicle right in front of them, heeding traffic signals, or making a necessary turn or lane-change.
Proving another driver was texting or misusing his/her cell phone while driving is a job for a professional attorney. Ron Laba has seen the results of texting behind the wheel many times before, and he is determined to defend the rights of victims and gain them just compensation. His intricate knowledge of California's texting laws and his long courtroom experience will help you win your claim. Ronald B. Laba knows how to utilize experts, gain access to police and medical records, and obtain cell phone calling records to win your case. Your claim is too important to risk losing for the lack experienced legal help.
6. Left Hand Turning Accidents
Making left hand turns is obviously unavoidable for those who travel our nation's highway grid. Yet, many do not take proper caution when attempting this maneuver. Turning left is one of the most danger-fraught things you can do behind the wheel of a car because it is one of the few times you will enter the driving lane of traffic coming from the opposite direction.
In some cases, left hand turning accidents occur because a driver runs through a red light and plows straight ahead into another vehicle making a legal left turn. Other times, the reverse is true—the at-fault driver may have had a green light to turn left but did not yield to the vehicle moving straight ahead when that vehicle had the right of way. Other factors include the lack of a turn signal and a failure to look both ways and exercise due caution when turning.
If you have suffered serious injury due to a left-turn violation of another, you should not have to go uncompensated. With a skilled auto injury lawyer like Ron Laba fighting in your corner, your chances of receiving a maximum settlement will greatly increase.
7. Red Light Accidents
A red light accident occurs when a driver runs a red light and broadsides an oncoming vehicle. As the innocent driver will be focused on navigating through the intersection, he/she can easily be taken by surprise and seriously injured or killed in a red light accident.
It may take the services of a seasoned lawyer to prove the fault of the other driver in such accidents. The at-fault driver may assert that the light was green at the time or yellow. For this reason, you need an attorney like Ron Laba who can gather witnesses in your favor, access film from security cameras if they were present at the intersection, and access film from any security cameras on businesses nearby.
8. Stop Sign Accidents
Stop sign accidents are very similar to red light accidents in that they frequently are caused by drivers who run through the intersection instead of stopping first. This may be due to drunk driving, reckless speeding, distracted driving, or a simple decision to knowingly violate the law.
In some cases, instead of running the stop sign, the violator rear-ends the car in front of him/her. This may happen because the driver is distracted and does not see the stopped car and stop sign ahead while there is still time to brake or swerve out of the way.
Ron Laba has seen numerous stop sign accidents over the course of his 30-year career, and he will know how to establish the at-fault status of the other driver and get you the compensation you are entitled to.
At the Law Offices of Ronald B. Laba, we take our obligations to our clients seriously. We fight for families in San Diego and North Counties to receive full and fair compensation for all losses incurred due to the negligence of other drivers.
Contact us today at 844-439-8969 for a free, hour-long legal consultation. You can also visit us in person at our office in San Diego or in Vista, California. If need be or if it is more convenient to you, we can meet you at the hospital, at your home, at your workplace, or elsewhere. We are committed to putting our legal knowledge to work for you and winning you a maximized settlement.