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Monterey County Personal Injury Blog


Monterey County car accident lawyerOver the last several years, there has been much talk about the rise of driverless vehicles and how they will make American roadways safer in the decades to come. Unfortunately, we are not quite there yet. In fact, most experts suggest that autonomous vehicle technology is still its infancy. As the software that manages driverless cars and trucks improves, however, there will certainly be accidents and mishaps, and some will cause injuries and deaths. Just last month, the first fatal crash involving an autonomous vehicle and a pedestrian occurred in Tempe, Arizona, and tech companies are taking the matter very seriously. 

A Tragic Incident

The accident happened on a Sunday night in March when a self-driving Uber SUV hit a 49-year-old woman as she was walking her bicycle across the street. The woman was taken to a local hospital where she died of her injuries. The vehicle was in autonomous mode, but a test driver was behind the wheel, ostensibly to take over control if necessary. Video of the incident, as well as police reports, indicated that the woman “suddenly emerg[ed] from the darkness on the side of the road.” The video also showed that the human test driver was not looking at the road at the time of crash. 

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Monterey County car accident attorneyFor decades, we have heard of the dangers of drunk driving, but alcohol is not the only mind-altering substance drivers sometimes use before getting behind the wheel. Data shows that drugged driving, or driving under the influence of drugs, is just as dangerous than drunk driving and may be even more common. A 2009 study showed that one out of every three individuals killed in car accidents tested positive for drugs. Drivers under the influence of drugs are not only a danger to themselves but also put everyone else on the road at risk.

Recreational Marijuana Concerns

Our country’s attitude has certainly changed regarding drug use in the last few decades. Many states, including California, have significantly reduced criminal penalties for marijuana use. Since California legalized the use of recreational marijuana, many have worried that there will be an increase of drugged drivers on the roads. To be clear, it is against the law to be under the influence of marijuana while operating a motor vehicle. The law says that a person is guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) if he or she is driving under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug. Motorists can also be charged with a DUI for driving while addicted to a drug.

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Monterey County personal defective products lawyersMost of us do not think twice before hopping in our cars and going about our business. We trust that the vehicle we use to transport ourselves and our loved ones is free from defect and will perform the way it is intended. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, and other motor vehicles are sometimes damaged long before a consumer drives them. Driving a defective or malfunctioning vehicle not only puts the driver and passengers at risk, but also endangers the lives of everyone else on the road.

Product Recalls Do Not Prevent All Injuries

When a consumer is injured or killed because a product they used was defective, the manufacturer and distributers of that product may be held liable. The 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act gives the government the power to recall unsafe cars. Since its enactment, 390 million defective vehicles have been recalled. Serious flaws such as Ford’s fire-prone cruise control mechanisms, GM’s engine-mount failure, and design weaknesses in Bridgestone-Firestone tires have prompted massive recalls. Unfortunately, the product recalls do not always prevent consumers from being hurt or even killed by defective products.

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Monterey County personal injury attorneyA car accident can happen at virtually any time and any place. Most of the accidents we hear about involve people we have never met or even heard of, but occasionally, a celebrity, popular athlete, or political figure will be involved in a crash that makes national headlines. Even more rare is an accident that involves more than one well-known personality, but that was exactly the case in Pacific Palisades, California, last week.

A Scary Situation

PGA golfer Bill Haas was in the area preparing for the Genesis Open, a weekend-long golf tournament. Haas was riding in a Ferrari with a member of the family he was staying with last Tuesday night when the driver of the car apparently lost control and collided with several vehicles, according to Los Angeles police reports. The Ferrari hit a BMW driven by a 50-year-old woman and a Toyota SUV driven by actor Luke Wilson.

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Monterey County personal injury attorneysAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5,376 pedestrians lost their lives in traffic crashes in the United States in 2015. Even more shocking, almost 129,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries during the same year. When a person thinks of a car accident-related injury they usually assume that the injured party was also in a motor vehicle; however, that is not always the case. In fact, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car accident.

Pedestrian Injuries Can Be Debilitating

California Vehicle Code §21950 states, "The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” Although the law is clear, some drivers do not yield to pedestrians. This can put pedestrians at serious risk. Some drivers simply choose not to follow the law while others are too distracted to notice pedestrians in their way. Texting while driving, driving with children, talking on a cell phone, or eating while driving are some of the most dangerous ways drivers get distracted.

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