How often do motorcycles crash?
Approximately 236 motorcycle crashes result in injuries every day in the United States, with an average of about 86,000 total injuries from crashes per year (2011-2015). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 88,000 motorcyclists were injured, with 4,976 reported deaths in 2015 alone. The amount of motorcycle accident injuries in the U.S. have also been on the rise, jumping from 52,000 in 1995, to a whopping 98,000 in 2007. The trend then tapered down to 77,000 in 2011, before drastically jumping back up to just under 90,000 in 2012, where it has plateaued. Motorcycle accident-related injuries have been on the rise in the U.S., possibly because there are millions of more motorcycles on the road, and perhaps, also due to the rise of “distracted drivers,” taking their hands off the wheel to use their cell phones. California motorcycle injury statistics California saw a decrease in motorcycle injuries during 2016, while the entire country saw an increase (+4,000). However, California, because of its vast population size (over 39,000,000), still had the second-most motorcycle injuries compared to every other state, except for Florida. In 2015, 27% of California motorcycle fatalities involved riders who did not have a valid motorcycle license. Furthermore, 42% of all motorcycle riders who were killed in a single-vehicle collision were alcohol-impaired. (The term “alcohol-impaired” defines motorcycle riders with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher.) Lack of preparation and lack of sobriety are just two factors that account for riders in California being 29 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die after suffering through an accident. The more we can avoid these inebriating factors, the better off we’ll be. Safe riding is fun riding With 881,386 registered motorcycles in California and an additional 34,509,961 registered vehicles, there’s a lot of room for motorcycle accidents to happen. You can do your part to prevent a motorcycle accident by using these tips to be a safer rider. 10 useful motorcycle safety tips: Wear safety gear, like state-compliant helmets, gloves, and reflective jackets. Stay in your comfort zone. Avoid unnecessary risks and showboating. Inspect your motorcycle often. Check for leaks, tire pressure, and body damage. Don’t rely on just your mirrors when switching lanes. Use your head! Aim long, and always err on the side of caution when approaching intersections. Avoid riding under stress. Don’t use your MC as a form of therapy. If you have a passenger, be 100% comfortable with the extra weight. Pay attention to the weather, and avoid riding in storms or rain showers. Acknowledge other riders. They have your back, remember that. Have fun! Motorcycles are amazing, so long as you’re safe. Enjoy the ride! No one likes to be told how to live their life – especially motorcyclists – but there’s no denying that riding sober, knowing your limits, and wearing the proper safety gear will significantly decrease your chances of injury. Most times, the other car is at fault Although you may ride responsibly, another motorist may not. In these cases, it’s not hard to prove that the driver was at fault in a passenger-vehicle crash. According to the famous 1981 Hurt Report, “In two-thirds of motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle rider’s right of way and caused the accident.”* For instance, as cell phone usage has caused a dramatic rise in “distracted driving” (which is perhaps directly correlated to the increase in motorcycle injuries), many passenger car motorists think they can lie to the judge and say they weren’t on their phone at the time of the incident. All it takes is a subpoena to obtain phone records and you’re looking at one potentially hefty settlement. If something happens, you need to be prepared At Wilshire Law Firm, we represent riders who are involved in motorcycle accidents, every day. Almost 30% of our cases involve these types of accidents. We know all the complicated ins and outs of dealing with motorcycle-related crashes, and we truly understand the sensitivities involved with the aftermath of these, sometimes tragic, incidents. With all the factors that go into these types of extra-sensitive personal injury cases, it’s extremely important that your family relies on attorneys they can trust. If you have been in a motorcycle accident, or know someone who has, you may be entitled to a substantial settlement. Your first call should be 911, then, call Wilshire Law Firm at 1-800-522-7274. We strongly advise you to save our number in case of a future emergency. Our expert motorcycle accident lawyers can be reached 24/7, 365, and are ready to assist you every step of the way – helping to manage medical expenses, repairs, and, of course, dealing with insurance companies. Sources: **The Hurt Report *– Once considered the most important motorcycle safety report of the 20thcentury, this report has been argued to be invalid, due to the following changing factors in motorcycle riding: Motorcycle Engineering Changes User Population Changes Automobile Engineering Changes Roadway Environmental Changes Insurance Information Institute LA Times FindLaw DMV NHTSA
Where Do Car Accidents Happen Most?
Car accidents are, by nature, unpredictable. There is no exact science to forecasting or preventing them. However, there are evident patterns in when and where crashes occur – and knowing these patterns can help reduce the risk of an incident. In this article, we cover a few common accident scenarios and what you can do in these situations to avoid becoming a statistic. Neighborhoods It may sound surprising, but the majority of car accidents happen close to home. In fact, a Progressive Insurance study from 2004 found that approximately 52% of all accidents occur within just five miles from a person’s home. Generally, we’re more likely to crash in our own neighborhoods than anywhere else. This can be explained by our brain’s propensity for going on autopilot when we’re driving familiar routes. If you’ve ever arrived at a destination only to realize that you were in a trance-like state the entire drive, then you know this phenomenon. When we drive in familiar places, we tend to rely more on muscle memory than on our vigilance and active driving skills (dulling our ability to react to unexpected occurrences). The two most important things you can and should do every time you drive is buckling up and stay alert. As long as you keep your mental faculties fully active, you will be a better, safer driver on the road. Parking Lots When you combine lots of cars in a compact space with stressed-out drivers all vying for limited parking spaces, you get a hotbed for accidents. Parking lots are arguably the place where most low-speed collisions occur. Common parking lot accidents include vehicles backing up into each other, vehicles backing up and getting clipped by passing vehicles, vehicles sideswiping other vehicles as they park, etc. While accidents at these sites very rarely result in significant injuries, the vehicle damages that often result can be expensive to repair. Daily Commutes In large sprawling metropolitan cities like Los Angeles, commuters spend hours each day stuck in traffic. Many commuters multitask behind the wheel, putting on makeup, fiddling with the radio, eating food, shaving, and even brushing their teeth. Additionally, people may feel physically exhausted or mentally frazzled from getting up early or from having a hard day at work. When you take all of these factors into consideration, it’s not hard to see why many crashes occur during rush hour. What should you do if you’ve been injured in a car accident? If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by another party, please don’t hesitate to contact the experienced car accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm for immediate legal assistance. We can help you get compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. For a FREE comprehensive case evaluation, call us today at 1-800-52-CRASH.
Dealing with Insurance After an Accident
Drivers are taught to exchange information with other drivers when an accident occurs. But after a car accident, how should you deal with insurance companies? If you don’t know, that’s okay! You’re not alone. Traffic accidents are chaotic, and dealing with insurance companies can be confusing, even for the most experienced drivers. Take a moment to collect yourself after a traffic accident, document the scene, and then take out your cellphone. There will be a few phone calls you’ll want to make. What should you do if you’re not at-fault for an accident? Typically, if someone hits you with their vehicle, you’ll want to call your own insurance company and avoid speaking to the other person’s insurance company, whenever possible. Of course, it’s never as simple as all that. Here are a few steps that can make the process of handling insurance companies easier. Call the police: Ask police officers to come down to the accident scene. You will especially want to do this if you’re not at-fault for an accident. Call your insurance company: When someone hits your car, you should call your own insurance company. Tell them that there’s been an accident. Be prepared to give your insurance company information: Once you have contacted your insurance adjuster, provide them with the information you received from the other driver(s) involved, which police department handled your case; and the location, time, and date of an accident. Do not contact the other driver’s insurance company: Wait until you have spoken to a lawyer about your case before speaking to the other driver’s insurance company. Dealing with insurance can be stressful, but by speaking to the right people and avoiding others, you can set up a strong foundation for your personal injury case. Reasons some people don’t report accidents Some people may be worried about reporting an accident to their adjuster out of fear that their premiums will go up. It is unlikely your rates will increase after a collision if you’re not the at fault party. Insurance companies use many different factors to determine whether or not your rates will increase. Adjusters take into account the severity of your accident, such as your driving history, whether you’re the at-fault party, and the value you have to your insurance company.1 Others may be worried about this accident showing up on their record. Calling an officer to the scene can help prevent this. Every accident reported to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will show up on your record, unless an officer’s report says you were not the at-fault motorist. Although this is not a guarantee, it can help. By not calling an officer, you risk the chance of an accident staying on your record anywhere from three to five years. How should you handle the other driver’s insurance adjuster? After an accident, the other party’s insurance company will most likely attempt to contact you. You don’t have to speak to them! In fact, it is better not to talk to the other driver’s adjuster when you have been injured in a collision, period. Instead, you should find a car accident lawyer to handle you claim. Your lawyer and your insurance adjuster should do the talking for you. This is for your own protection because insurance adjusters are trained to use manipulation and other tricks to fish out information in an attempt to hurt your claim and the amount of compensation your case may be worth. On the off chance you do need to speak to the other driver’s adjuster, you must be careful. Keep the following in mind so you’re not tricked into giving out too much information: Do not discuss what condition you may be in. An adjuster may ask you how you’re doing, pretending they care about your well-being. In reality, they’re trying to find information that may point to your injuries not being as serious as you claim. Anything you say can be used against you. This is why you should never offer up any additional information that could be potentially construed in their favor. Never agree when they ask if they can record your conversation. Recordings of your conversations can be used as evidence against you! California is a “two-party” state, meaning both parties must agree to be recorded.2 An adjuster cannot legally record you if you say no. Avoid speculating. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say you don’t know. Never attempt to guess an answer.3 If the other company’s adjuster calls you, ask if you can have your own adjuster on the line with you or send them your adjuster’s or lawyer’s information so they can contact them. Remember: the goal is to never speak to the other company’s adjuster, if possible. Dealing with insurance can be stressful, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Our car accident lawyer from Wilshire Law Firm will fight the other driver’s insurance company on your behalf so you can receive the maximum compensation for your claim possible. Contact us today and schedule your free consultation at 1-800-522-7274. Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to serve as legal advice, nor does it constitute a guarantee or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. Sources: The Department of Motor Vehicles, “How Auto Claims Affect Auto Insurance Rates,” https://www.dmv.org/insurance/how-auto-claims-affect-auto-insurance-rates.php Digital Media Law Project, “California Recording Law,” http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/california-recording-law Nolo, “Insurance Adjusters: First Discussions,” https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/insurance-adjusters-first-discussions-29752.html
Can a Volunteer Sue For Wrongful Termination?
California is considered an “at-will” state, meaning you can be fired for any reason except for those listed under the California Fair Housing and Employment Act (FEHA). It is due to FEHA that an unpaid volunteer and intern may sue their employer if they were unlawfully terminated because of discrimination or as a form of retaliation. Volunteer Discrimination Law FEHA’s protection extends beyond paid employment. It also serves to protect those in unpaid positions as well. According to FEHA’s Unpaid Interns and Volunteers section, it is unlawful for an employer to: “Discriminate against a person serving an unpaid internship or other program providing unpaid work experience in the selection, termination, training, or other terms of treatment of that person on any protected basis (section 11009)(e).); or Subject unpaid interns and volunteers to unlawful harassment (section 11019(b).)” An employer can terminate you for anything except for race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, age (over 40), mental disability, physical disability, sex, gender, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, and military/veteran status. Furthermore, if you receive an “employment benefit” while working as an intern or volunteer, your case may be under the purview as an employee, strengthening your claim. An employee benefit could include gratuity and bonuses while on the job. There are laws to protect you regardless of your working status, but not all employers follow these laws. When this is the case, contact an attorney with details about your case. When you can and can’t sue As dictated above, an employer is allowed to fire their volunteers and interns for almost any reason. You could be lawfully terminated because an employer does not like your personality, but they can’t terminate you for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. But how do you know if you were terminated because of discrimination, especially since discrimination is not always apparent? If you are a member of a protected class and you experienced any of these adverse actions while working, you may have a case on your hands: Employers giving you work tasks that are impossible to complete successfully Employers giving you work tasks that are consistently less than other volunteers You were subjected to demeaning conversations Tones are harsh or belittling Discriminatory jokes Offensive comments These are only a few examples of discrimination a volunteer or unpaid intern can face and is nowhere near an all-inclusive list. Not sure you were wrongfully terminated? Talk to an employment lawyer about your case. A lawyer can better guide you through what to do next and offer invaluable representation. What should you do next? Discrimination and wrongful termination should never be allowed to stand. If you don’t fight employers and companies who implement such practices, even for jobs that are voluntary, whose to say they won’t do the exact same thing to another worker? You can fight to change this. Filing a strong lawsuit requires evidence. The more evidence you obtain, the better. Unfortunately, finding physical pieces of evidence, like a letter or memo detailing discrimination, is difficult. A simple method to document discrimination is to write it down in a journal. Include a summary of what happened, date, and time. A journal may not be enough, though. You’ll also want to have the following for your claim: Witnesses Personnel file, if one is available An employee handbook or company policies regarding discrimination Discriminatory/retaliatory emails and text messages The firing process is another opportunity for you to gather evidence of discrimination. When terminated, ask your employer to put it down into writing as to why you were terminated. Keep evidence in a safe place and bring it to an employment lawyer. It may seem like a hassle to get a lawyer involved, but if you strongly believe you were wrongfully terminated from your volunteer or unpaid internship, you should discuss your case with an employment lawyer as soon as possible. On principal, no matter if it’s an unpaid or paid job, employers who engaging in discriminatory practices should be brought to justice. Call an employment lawyer at Wilshire Law Firm today to discuss your case at 1-800-522-7274. Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to serve as legal advice, nor does it constitute a guarantee or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.
Are Our Trains Safe?
Driving a car in Los Angeles is time-consuming, stressful and, at times, dangerous. That’s why many people opt to take the train. For many commuters, the train is the only way they can travel to their workplace reliably. But, is travelling by train safe? Though train fatalities are not as common as they once were, they can still happen at any time. Take, for example, the Amtrak derailment in Washington State or the pedestrian death that occurred in January. These are only a few incidents that come to mind, but there have been thousands of train accidents reported in the United States year after year. In fact, The Federal Railroad Administration documented over 10,000 train accidents in 2016 alone. As you can see, train accidents are not something of the past, but are occurring every day, taking the lives of hundreds and injuring thousands. In a car, instinct will make you slam on the breaks, swerve out of the way of oncoming traffic, stop for pedestrians, etc. When you’re a passenger on a train, you have zero control over what happens. The only thing you can do is be prepared in case of an accident. When boarding a train, keep the following tips from Vocativ in mind to help you survive a train accident: Do not sit in the front car. The safest cars to ride in tend to be one or two from the back. Sit facing backwards so you’re not flung out of your seat in case the train suddenly stops. If there is a café, do not linger in it too long. Avoid sitting near windows. Follow the captain’s and crew’s orders. Escape using a window or emergency exit. Taking precaution is never a wasted effort. You should use the above tips whenever you’re traveling by train to hopefully mitigate any injuries you may suffer from in the event of a train accident. Unlike train passengers, pedestrians and drivers do have full control over what actions they can take when they’re around trains. Still, according to Operation Lifesaver, a person or vehicle is struck by a train, every three hours! Operation Lifesaver recommends the following safety measures when driving or walking near train tracks: Only cross train tracks at designated public crossings that include a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate. Never walk around or under a gate when flashing. Don’t expect a train to stop in time before hitting you. They can take up to a mile or more for it to come to a full stop. Don’t walk on or near the train tracks! Trains have an overhang of at least three feet in both directions. Wait a minute before crossing train tracks after a train passes. It’s possible that a second train is following close behind them. Do not attempt to hop onto a moving train. Never rely on a train schedule. Next time you’re thinking about walking or driving on train tracks, remember that you could be one of the eight pedestrians and drivers that are struck every day! Our train accident attorneys understand that for many people, traveling by train is absolutely necessary. We implore that you take precaution when you do! If you or someone you know has been injured in a train accident, contact a Wilshire Law Firm attorney to discuss your case for free.
Which Express Lanes Can a Motorcyclist Use for Free?
As a motorcyclist, you want to reach your destination quickly and safely. Express Lanes help with this because they typically have less traffic on them, but the can be costly to use. Here’s some good news: motorcyclists may not have to pay the toll fees! Motorcyclists, carpools, and vanpools are afforded discounted or, oftentimes, free rates. This is a method that one cannot always rely on, though. While some Express Lanes are free, others are not. Before your next trip, take a moment to learn more about how you can use Express Lanes for free. How do you use an Express Lane? First things first, make sure to have a FasTrak Flex transponder mounted on your motorcycle where an overhead antenna can read it. Have no room to do so? No problem! An antenna can read your transponder through your pocket. Just make sure it is in a secure place. Please note that it is illegal to hold up a transponder while driving through a toll point. Check the toll rates on the overhead signs, especially for lanes that are not free to use for motorcyclists. You must decide whether or not you want to use the lane before the dashed line disappears and becomes a double line. To cross afterwards can result in a ticket. Each lane has a variety of entry points. Choose one to enter and ride in that lane until you need to exit. It’s as simple as that! Which Express Lanes are free for motorcyclists? Life would be much simpler if all of California’s Express Lanes were regulated in the same way. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While some lanes are free to use, others may require that you pay the toll. Here’s a breakdown of what lanes you can use for free and which ones you need to pay for: Interstate 10 and Interstate 110 Metro Express Lanes, Los Angeles CountyMotorcyclists can use Express Lanes on I-110 and I-10 free of charge and without transponders or a FasTrak account if they have a standard issued license plate. Personalized motorcycle plates may be registered as a vehicle unlawfully using the express lane. This can result in you getting ticketed! State Route 237 Express Lanes, Santa Clara ValleySR-237 is free during peak commute periods for motorcycles as long as they have the proper decals. Be aware that tolls may be required for carpool vehicles (which include motorcyclists) at later times. If Express Lane says “HOV only,” any carpool vehicles and motorcyclists may use it for free. Express Lanes are in operation Westbound (towards Sunnyvale), from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Express Lanes are in operation Eastbound (toward Milpitas) from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Outside of these posted hours, these lanes are free to use. State Route 125 South Bay Expressway, San Diego CountyUnfortunately, there is no free pass on State Route 125! This route requires motorcycles to pay the same toll rates as 2-axle vehicles. Interstate 15 Express Lanes, San Diego CountyIt’s toll-free for motorcyclists. You don’t need a FasTrak transponder. 91 Freeway Express Lanes, Orange CountyYou must apply for a [Special Access Account](https://www.91expresslanes.com/specapp.pdf) for discounted toll rates as a motorcyclist traveling on the 91 Freeway Express Lane. Interstate 580 Express Lanes, Alameda CountyMotorcyclists are allowed to drive on I-580 Express Lanes for free but are required to have their FasTrak transponder set to 2 or 3 plus people. Interstate 680 Sunol Southbound Express Lane, Alameda CountyMotorcycles can travel for free without a FasTrak transponder. If a motorcyclist has a transponder, they can set it to 2 or 3 plus people to avoid paying the toll. Interstate 680 Express Lanes, Contra CostaMotorcyclists are allowed to drive on I-680 Express Lanes for free but are required to set their FasTrak transponder to 2 or 3 plus people. Bay Area Bridges, San Francisco CountyMotorcyclists are allowed to ride in Bay Area Express Lanes toll-free, but are still required to own a FasTrak Flex transponder. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco CountyMotorcyclists must pay the toll but they may also use Carpool Toll Lane #2 on the right side of the Toll Plaza during HOV dedicated times which are: 5 am to 9 am (weekdays) 4pm to 6pm (weekdays) New Year’s Day Presidents’ Day Memorial Day Independence Day Labor Day Thanksgiving Day Christmas Day Always have your transponder mounted somewhere where it can be clearly read. Express Lanes are a great option when you need to get to where you’re going quickly and without having to resort to lane splitting techniques. When in doubt as to which lanes you can use for free, keep a FasTrak transponder on your windshield or somewhere where it can be read to ensure that you won’t receive a ticket. It’s better to pay a few dollars than to receive $300 or $400 ticket. While Express Lanes allow for more breathing room as you ride your motorcycle, accidents can still occur. If you have been hit by another driver while riding your motorcycle, call a Wilshire Law Firm motorcycle accident lawyer for a free case consultation at 1-800-522-7274.