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Monterey County Personal Injury Blog


Monterey County personal injury lawyersIt has been almost a full year since voters in California passed Proposition 64 to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults. The legalization is set to take effect on January 1, 2018, and officials hope to have retail marijuana stores ready to open by that date. While the debate continues regarding the role that the state government should play in regulating the growth, sale, and taxation of the drug, there is another concern that many across the state share. Other states in which recreational marijuana has been legalized have seen an increase in the number of car accidents in the years that followed legalization—a trend which could continue in California beginning next year.

Two Studies; Two Different Priorities

In recent months, two separate studies have been released, each of which looked at accident statistics in certain states both before and after the legalization of recreational marijuana use. The first study was commissioned by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Analysts examined claims submitted to insurance companies for car accidents from 2012 through 2016. Washington and Colorado both legalized adult marijuana use in 2014, followed by Oregon in 2015. The study compared the accident rates in these states to the rates in states that did not amend their marijuana laws. The researchers determined that accident rates in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon were about 3 percent higher than they would have been if marijuana had not been legalized.

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Monterey County personal injury attorneysWhen you have been involved in a car accident, the moments immediately following the crash can be a whirlwind—especially if you or another party has been injured. In the flurry of activity at the scene, it can be difficult to remember to do all of the things that should be done to ensure that your rights are fully protected in the weeks and months to come. Unfortunately, many victims make similar mistakes after an accident, placing the future of their case in jeopardy.

Mistake #1: Not Calling the Police

If there is going to be any type of insurance claim filed for the accident, the police should absolutely be notified. While it is not irrefutable proof of anything, the responding officer’s report provides a starting point for the insurance companies and any possible lawsuit down the road. When the police are not involved, the case becomes your word against the other driver’s—a much more challenging situation.

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Monterey County personal injury attorneysMany individuals have found themselves at a bar or party and have been drinking too much to drive home. Those in this predicament have some choices to make. Some will walk home or ask a friend for a ride. Others will decide that they can still drive themselves home, risking a DUI, serious injury, or even death. Sadly, many who drive while intoxicated risk their own lives and those of the other drivers. The CDC reports that on average, 28 individuals die in car accidents which involve an intoxicated driver every single day. When ridesharing services like Uber first became available, it was thought that people that had been out drinking would use the service instead of driving themselves. Uber touted the benefits of their service and claimed it would make the nation’s roads safer. Unfortunately, this may not be the case.

Why Has the Emergence of Ride Sharing Services Not Led to Decreased Traffic Fatalities?

A recent study from Oxford University and the University of Southern California has found that Uber may not be reducing the number of drunk drivers the way many had hoped. Researchers analyzed data regarding drunk driving before and after the arrival of Uber and other ridesharing services and found that the rate of drunk driving fatalities was not significantly affected.

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Monterey County personal injury attorneyWhen you have been injured in a car accident, a slip and fall, or any other type of incident where another party may be to blame for your injuries, it is important to have a qualified attorney at your side.  A lawyer is necessary for a number of reasons, including protecting your rights and ensuring you are treated fairly by insurance companies and representatives for the other party or parties.

Selecting the right personal injury attorney for your case, however, can be challenging, as there are seemingly countless firms from which to choose. Most victims’ advocates recommend using available resources—such as internet reviews and rating systems—to come up with a short list of four or five potential candidates. Since most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning there is no fee unless you recover via a verdict or settlement, free consultations are usually available. During your consultation, there are few important questions you should ask each candidate so that you can make the best possible decision for your case, including:

  • What types of injury cases do you handle? Most personal injury lawyers handle car accidents, but if you have been injured by an incident of medical negligence, a good car accident lawyer may not be equipped to handle your potential malpractice claim with the same level of skill.
  • What percentage of your cases are settled? An estimated 95 percent of all personal injury claims are settled before trial. If a prospective attorney tells you he or she goes to trial 75 percent of the time, for example, he or she may not be trying very hard in negotiations. Of course, if you want your case to go to trial, he or she could be a good fit for you. If, however, the candidate says they refer out for trial cases, that could also affect your decision.
  • Who will I be working with? Your initial consultation may be with one attorney, but will he or she be the one handling the details of your case or will it be handed off to a junior associate or a paralegal? In complex cases, of course, a lead attorney may need help from staff members, but you deserve to know who will be in charge and how you can reach him or her.
  • Will you tell me the truth from start to finish? Personal injury lawyers tend to be optimistic about their chances of success, but your attorney must also be realistic and honest. When a new development threatens the viability of your case, will the candidate be clear and upfront about it or will he or she pretend that everything is fine until it suddenly is not? If your consultation leaves you feeling hesitant about trusting the candidate, you should probably choose someone else.
  • Do you have clients I can call for references? Attorneys worth your time and money should have a list of satisfied clients who are willing to share their experiences with you. If a candidate is hesitant to provide such a list or only gives one name, that could be an indication of a less than stellar reputation.

Of course, there are many other questions that you may have, especially those that pertain more directly to the circumstances of your particular case. By asking questions and engaging in a conversation with a prospective attorney, you should be able to get a feel for how well you can work together in seeking the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

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Monterey County personal injury attorneysWhile there are countless ways to be injured in everyday life, auto and motorcycle accidents are among the most common that result in personal injury claims. Careless driving, driving under the influence, or even a mechanical defect due to poor maintenance or recalled parts can lead to tragic consequences.

Fortunately, it is more than possible to reduce the likelihood of an auto accident. All it takes is a little extra caution and the elimination of a few dangerous habits that are frequently linked with traffic violations, accidents, and unnecessary injuries. The next time you are behind the wheel, be wary of:

  • Speeding: Driving above the posted limit is an easy way to earn a citation. It is also one of the leading causes of auto accidents nationwide. It only takes one mistake to cause a crash, so each driver must do his or her part to prevent an accident. Under California Law, speeding is a moving violation, which can lead to hefty fines and a mandatory court appearance;
  • Running red lights:  It is easy to coast through a yellow light, but many drivers cut it dangerously close and end up running run through a red light. Just like speeding, running a red light is considered a moving violation and will not only get you a ticket, it also seriously increases the risk for causing an accident with a pedestrian or another car;
  • Driving with a mechanical issue: A minor mechanical problem like a broken tail light can seem like a petty issue, but even simple issues problems can cause your vehicle to operate less efficiently on the road. A burned-out turn signal, for example, could be the difference between changing lanes safely and causing an accident;
  • Distractions: This is possibly one of the most talked about dangers on the roadways today—along with driving under the influence. Texting, playing with the radio or other devices, putting on makeup, eating, or tending to children while driving are all activities that endanger everyone on the road.

It is also important to stay alert to changing weather patterns and roadway conditions. You should also plan ahead for things like meals or tolls so that you can remain focused on operating your vehicle safely.

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Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P.

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