Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Can an Auto Accident Settlement Exceed the Policy Limit in California?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Even though, as a whole, people drove less in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, auto accidents were unfortunately widespread. Distracted driving accounted for approximately 14% of all car accidents resulting in injuries in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration (NHTSA). Also in 2020, over 1,100 people lost their lives due to alcohol-related car accidents in California. NHTSA estimates that in 2021, over 4,000 lost their lives in a traffic accident. Car insurance serves to help make sure that a crash victim receives a minimum amount of compensation for their injuries and damages. But what if the damages are more than the insurance policy limit? Can an auto accident settlement exceed the policy limit in California?  California Insurance Policies and Limits California has special laws when it comes to car insurance. By law, individuals can carry traditional motor vehicle insurance or provide proof of financial responsibility in lieu of insurance. This allows individuals flexibility to choose how they would like to cover car accident liability. Additionally, it protects the public by requiring individuals to secure a method to compensate car accident victims for losses.  Types of California Insurance Policies California allows drivers to carry the following types of liability policies:  Car insurance from a licensed insurance provider;  Self-insurance certificate issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV);  Evidence of a $35,000 deposit with the DMV; or $35,000 surety bond issued by a business licensed to operate in California. Some individuals may qualify for a low-cost insurance program. This program improves access to insurance coverage to individuals who can’t afford traditional car insurance. In return, however, the policy limits and coverage are less than those of traditional insurance.  California Insurance Policy Limits California’s drivers must provide evidence of the following minimum amounts of financial responsibility in case of an accident: $15,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident;  $30,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of two or more persons in an accident; and  $5,000 minimum coverage for damage to the property belonging to others in the accident.  If the individual carries a low-cost automobile insurance policy, the following limits apply: $10,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident;  $20,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of two or more persons in an accident; and  $3,000 minimum coverage for damage to the property belonging to others in the accident.  These are the minimum amounts of coverage that California’s drivers must carry or bear responsibility for. But drivers can opt to take out policies with higher coverage amounts.  Can an Auto Accident Settlement Exceed the Policy Limit in California? It depends. Part of the insurance contract is that the driver agrees to pay the insurance company X amount in exchange for the insurance covering losses totaling X amount or less.  Typically, insurance policies and limits represent the highest amounts that the insurance company may agree to pay if there’s an accident.  In California, you have to give the at-fault insurance company one opportunity to resolve the claim within their limits by sending over enough information to show the limit amount should be tendered. If the insurance company disagrees and does not pay, then the insurance policy limit is open.    You can still negotiate with the insurance company and at-fault parties to reach a settlement agreement that works for everyone. Additionally, if you have underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance company may cover some of your damages.  Having an experienced auto accident lawyer to help you increases your chances of recovering. The Beliz Law Firm helps people like you negotiate with the insurance company. We’re not afraid to go to court to help victims and their families get the compensation they need and deserve.  What Are My Options If My Damages Exceed the Insurance Policy Limits? Some car accident injuries like traumatic brain injury can incur a lifetime cost for medical treatment of thousands to over $1 million dollars. Aside from medical costs, you or your loved one may be missing out on wages, enduring pain and suffering, and going through other hardships because of the accident. Do you have options?  If you’re unable to negotiate a suitable settlement outside of court, filing a lawsuit may be your best option. If you go to court, the money award you receive isn’t limited by the insurance policy limits. California’s personal injury damages laws set how much you can receive from the at-fault party or parties.  Under California law, you may be entitled to full, fair, and reasonable compensation for the damages that the at-fault party caused. This includes direct damages, like to your car and your body during the accident. Additionally, you may receive compensation for the harm to you, your life, and your family because of the accident. In other words, compensation for your pain and suffering and lost wages. Unfortunately, just because a court may award you damages does not mean you will be able to collect them. Underinsured drivers often lack the resources to pay a judgment. Your attorney can investigate to help you determine whether filing a lawsuit will be worthwhile. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy, you can make a claim with your own insurance company up to the limits of that policy. A lawyer can help you navigate claims with both the at-fault driver’s insurance company and your own insurance company. Hiring a knowledgeable and trustworthy auto accident lawyer helps you maximize the recovery you receive.  The Beliz Law Firm—Trusted By Southern California Since 2011 Car accident victims need someone they can trust on their side. After all, insurance companies want to save money and at-fault parties aim to pay as little as possible. Meanwhile, car accident victims and their families must pay the price of an accident that wasn’t their fault.  Without an attorney in their corner fighting for them, victims may unknowingly sign away their rights to compensation and accept a car accident settlement...

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What Are Common Uber Accident Settlement Amounts?

| Read Time: 6 minutes

Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft continue to gain popularity in Southern California and around the country. Uber drivers transport passengers, packages, food, and more. More people signing on to be drivers means more cars on Los Angeles and Orange County roads. Additional cars on the road mean a greater chance of an accident. Pursuing a personal injury claim involving an Uber driver can be complicated. Understandably, injured victims want to know California’s average Uber accident settlement amounts.  Unfortunately, every case is different, which means Uber car accident settlements will vary greatly depending on the circumstances. Your potential case value depends on individual factors. Uber is not always responsible for paying your damages either, which could also impact your compensation. If you suffered injuries in an accident with an Uber driver, contact the California rideshare lawyers at the Beliz Law Firm today. To help you better understand how much your potential settlement could be, here’s everything you need to know about pursuing an Uber accident claim in California. Uber Insurance Policies Rideshare companies understand that accidents happen, so they have large insurance policies to cover potential Uber accident settlement amounts. Uber has paid damages to injured rideshare passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, other motorists, and bicyclists. However, Uber policies don’t necessarily cover every accident involving an Uber driver. That is why we recommend hiring an attorney to assist you. Uber insurance policies only become primary in certain instances based on what the Uber driver was doing when the accident occurred. Uber liability coverage for an accident depends on the driver’s status. The breakdown is as follows. The Uber App Is Turned Off, or the Driver Is Offline If the Uber driver does not have their app turned on or they are offline, then the Uber driver’s personal auto insurance policy would be primary for the accident. The Uber Driver Has the App Turned On or Is Waiting for a Ride Request The Uber policy will provide coverage when the driver has the app turned on or is waiting for a ride. Usually, during this phase, the Uber driver’s personal auto liability policy denies coverage. However, the Uber policy coverage is lower in this type of accident. Applicable coverage is $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury for all parties in one accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident. Uber Driver Was on a Trip or Traveling to Pick Up a Ride In accidents involving a driver with a passenger in the vehicle or en route to pick up the passenger, the Uber policy would apply with higher limits of up to $1,000,000. Factors that Impact a Potential Uber Settlement in California Various factors will impact your potential Uber accident settlement payout. It’s crucial to take the appropriate steps to build the best case possible. The more substantial evidence you have, the more money you may receive from a settlement or trial award. Type and Severity of Injuries One essential factor in your claim involves your injuries. If someone has soft tissue injuries that heal within three months, their case will be worth significantly less than a case where the victim has a spinal cord injury with permanent paralysis. Following a car accident, timely medical treatment is a necessity. Even though serious injuries may not be apparent immediately after a collision, pains and injuries may increase over the days and weeks following. Insurance companies will argue that you must not be that hurt because you waited weeks to see a doctor. Or they might allege something else happened in the meantime that caused your injuries, not the accident. Liability Liability is another factor that can impact your potential Uber settlement in California. California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means you can still collect a portion of your damages, even if you are partially at fault. However, your Uber accident settlement would be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if a jury determines you are 20% at fault, you will receive 80% of your damages. If the jury decides you are 70% at fault, you will only receive 30%. Determining liability for an Uber-related accident can be challenging. Complicated factors, such as what the Uber driver was doing when the collision occurred, and your role, can significantly impact your potential Uber accident settlement. If you were a passenger in an Uber vehicle and another vehicle was at fault for the accident, you would need to pursue a claim against the negligent motorist. If applicable then you may be able to bring an underinsured motorist claim against Uber to be fully compensated for your injuries.   To maximize an Uber accident settlement payout, you need to build the strongest liability case possible. It doesn’t matter whether your claim is against Uber’s insurance company or the insurance company of another driver; the claims adjuster will do whatever possible to pin most of the liability away from them. Total Amount of Damages The total amount of damages also impact Uber accident settlement amounts. The more damages you have, the higher your case could be worth. Damages can be divided into two main categories—economic and non-economic damages. Your economic damages include tangible financial losses such as medical expenses both past and future, property damage, and time off work. Non-economic damages are harder to calculate because they are more subjective. They are pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress, and more. When you have the Beliz Law Firm representing you, we will work tirelessly to provide evidence of your damages.   Liability Plus Insurance Policy Limits Plus Damages Equals Settlement Amount The Amount of Liability Coverage The amount of settlement will depend on the combination of liability, the policy limits, and the damages. The higher percentage of liability on the Uber driver with higher insurance limits plus serious injuries may lead to a greater settlement value. However, the opposite is true. The lower percentage of negligence on the Uber driver with the lowest limits of insurance and soft tissue injuries that...

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What Is the Statute of Limitations in a California Car Accident?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Recovering after a car accident can take a long time. Hospital stays can take weeks, while physical therapy can take months or years. Processing and overcoming the trauma and pain of a car accident can take even longer.  However, if you plan to file a lawsuit because of the accident, you can’t wait forever. California has a strict deadline for filing claims called a “statute of limitations.” In most cases, the statute of limitations in a California car accident case is only two years.  Therefore, if you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident, you need to act quickly. Don’t let the statute of limitations in California make your claim untimely. Contact a knowledgeable Long Beach car accident attorney today.  What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in California? Section 340.8 of the California Code of Civil Procedure contains the statute of limitations for car accidents. For most civil lawsuits for losses caused in a car accident, the statute of limitations in California is two years from the date of the accident. If you do not file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, the court will most likely throw out your case.  That said, this two year statute of limitations does not apply in every situation. One exception applies to car accidents involving government entities. For example, if you were rear-ended by a police vehicle and suffered injuries as a result. Since this is a claim not against a private citizen but a government entity (i.e., the police), a different statute of limitations would apply. Instead of two years, you would have only six months after the accident to file your claim.  Other circumstances can extend the statute of limitations. If a minor child is injured in a car accident, the statute of limitations clock doesn’t start ticking until they are 18 years old.  Two years may sound like a long time, but claims take time. Injuries may need time for treatment plans and diagnoses, and determining fault may need the consultation of experts to parse through the data and witness statements. Your attorney has a lot of work to do gathering evidence and building your case. So it’s never a good idea to wait. Instead, you should reach out to a qualified car accident attorney right away. Why Is the Statute of Limitations Only Two Years? There are several good reasons why the state limits the statute of limitations to two years. For one, limiting the time period to two years helps ensure that sufficient evidence is available. As any attorney or police officer can tell you, evidence degrades over time.  Witnesses move, pass away, or simply forget key facts because memories fade over time. Physical evidence, like documents and photographs, can be lost or destroyed. As the amount of evidence decreases, it becomes harder and harder to get a fair outcome in a case. Capping the statute of limitations to only two years also gives people a sense of finality. If there were no statute of limitations, people could bring lawsuits over events that occurred 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years ago.  What If I Didn’t Know I Was Injured Until a Long Time After the Car Accident? Sometimes, people feel perfectly fine after a car accident. Because they don’t see or feel any effects after the crash, they assume that they’re healthy and don’t go to a doctor. However, car accidents cause all kinds of hidden traumas, like spinal trauma and closed head injuries. Some of the injuries take months or even years to develop.  If you were injured in an accident and waited too long to bring your claim, you may be ultimately barred from receiving recovery from the negligent party.    Consequently, if your injury appeared months or years after the accident, you will need to consult with a qualified legal professional who will help determine whether your claim is still viable and able to file a lawsuit. I’m Short of Cash Right Now. How Can I Afford an Attorney? Many people wrongly assume that they have to pay attorneys an hourly fee. Although attorneys are sometimes paid by the hour, you can sometimes hire them on a contingency fee basis. In a contingency fee arrangement, you pay only when the attorney resolves your case in a favorable monetary outcome. Your attorney will receive a certain agreeable percentage of the payout.   This method allows you to get legal representation even if you don’t have a lot of extra money available to pay upfront fees. It also means that the attorney gets paid only if they win money for you. After damages award money comes in, the attorney takes the agreed-upon percentage as their fee and the rest after disbursement of costs and medical bills will be given to you.   Don’t Wait Another Day to Get Justice. Contact Us Today.  Surviving a car accident is incredibly stressful. It can also be devastating to your finances and physical and mental well-being. However, do not miss your opportunity to recover compensation for your losses. You deserve to be compensated for your pain, suffering, and lost wages. So act quickly and call an attorney today.  Michael A Beliz, Esq. is a dedicated and experienced personal injury attorney who can help you obtain justice. Over the course of almost two decades, Mr. Beliz has represented clients in countless car accident cases. Thanks to his stellar representation, his clients have received some amazing results over the years. If you want a qualified and compassionate attorney to represent you, look no further. Give us a call or contact us online to set up an appointment.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Can a Pedestrian Ever Be at Fault for a Car Accident in California?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Many people think that accidents involving pedestrians mean that the driver is always at fault. However, that is not always the case. Understandably, prospective clients want to know, Can a pedestrian be at fault? Liability differs in every case, and yes, a pedestrian can be at fault in a car accident. You often hear the saying that “pedestrians have the right of way,” but that isn’t necessarily always the case. Drivers and pedestrians have a duty to act as a prudent person with reasonable care. Failure to do so could result in potential negligence against a pedestrian in an accident claim. If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by a negligent party, speak with an experienced California pedestrian injury lawyer at the Beliz Law Firm. Pedestrian Accidents in California Pedestrians have the right-of-way at marked and unmarked crosswalks in California. When a pedestrian fails to comply with the crosswalk or pedestrian laws, the driver may have the right-of-way. The law doesn’t protect pedestrians when they violate the law, such as jaywalking between vehicles. That means pedestrians can be legally at fault for causing a crash.  An example would be a pedestrian who darts out between two parked cars in front of a vehicle, causing the driver to crash into the parked cars. In this case, the pedestrian might be liable for the damage to those parked vehicles. Other examples of situations where pedestrians might be liable in an accident include: Crossing at a crosswalk, but violating a traffic law such as crossing on a red light when it says don’t walk; Walking on a bridge or highway where pedestrian traffic is prohibited; or Acting recklessly, negligently, or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While pedestrian traffic is prohibited in places such as a highway or freeway, it doesn’t mean a driver can hit someone and have no fault. A motorist may break down and walk to a call box or get off the highway to get assistance. Drivers still have a duty to be cautious and avoid striking them. Shared Fault for Pedestrian Accidents Pedestrian accident liability is sometimes split between the driver and pedestrian, where both parties are deemed to be partially responsible for the accident. California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means you can collect a portion of your damages in an accident, even if you are primarily at fault for the collision. Even in cases where it might appear a pedestrian is clearly at fault, it’s possible the driver will still have some liability. For example, maybe a pedestrian jaywalked, but the driver was distracted and speeding or under the influence of alcohol. The defendant’s insurance company will do their best to put some if not all the liability on you, whether you’re the driver or pedestrian. Even if they can prove only 10% or 20% liability, it means they can reduce their exposure and potential payout. For example, if a jury finds you 15% at fault, you would collect 85% of your damages. It also means the other party would be able to pursue 15% of their damages from your insurance. How a California Pedestrian Injury Attorney Can Assist You If you sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, retaining a skilled California pedestrian injury lawyer is essential. You need a legal advocate on your side who can protect your rights and help you fight for the maximum compensation in your case. When you retain the Beliz Law Firm to represent you, we will immediately open an independent investigation. Our team will order your medical records and police report, speak with witnesses, and do a scene investigation. In some cases, we may need to hire an expert, such as an accident reconstructionist. This expert will review the facts of the accident. They will prepare a report deciding whom they believe to be at fault for the collision. They can also testify on your behalf should your case eventually go to trial. An accident reconstructionist’s report can be a crucial part of your case. We will also handle all communication and settlement talks with the other party’s insurance or legal practitioners. Insurance companies rely on the fact that you don’t do this for a living. Adjusters will rarely ever offer you the total value of your claim. Instead, they will do their best to minimize your payout and put the majority of the blame on you when investigating pedestrian accident liability. Should the other party’s insurance fail to negotiate or refuse to accept any liability, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf. Contact a California Pedestrian Attorney Today If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a California auto accident with a pedestrian, contact The Beliz Law Firm. We have nearly two decades of experience assisting injured victims just like you. We understand the applicable laws and tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying damages. Our firm has the skills and resources available should you choose to proceed with preparing a case for trial. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. We will review your case, help you identify the liable party, and assess what your case is worth. Let us determine the best course of legal action and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What are the Laws in California Regarding a Pedestrian Hit by a Car?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

It’s dangerous out there being a pedestrian. Not only do you have to worry about California’s crumbling sidewalks, but distracted and aggressive motorists show very little respect for pedestrians. According to one source, pedestrian deaths account for 22% of all traffic fatalities, so it important that pedestrians protect themselves. At the Beliz Law Firm, we receive a common question: “I got hit by a car while crossing the street. What are my rights?” In this post, we will explain how the law protects pedestrians in California and what to do after a collision. Hitting a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk All motorists must operate their vehicles with sufficient care. This does not mean that they must be perfect, but they must use due care so as not to injure anyone—including pedestrians. When drivers fail to be sufficiently careful, they are negligent and legally responsible for the injuries they cause. Examples of negligence include: Failing to stop Running a red light Trying to scoot around a pedestrian Distracted driving, such as texting or talking on the phone while driving Backing up without checking in the rearview mirror California Vehicle Code § 21950 confirms that both pedestrians and motorists owe each other a duty of care. The code specifically states that motorists who are approaching a pedestrian in any marked or unmarked crosswalk must slow down their vehicle and take any other action necessary to avoid hitting a pedestrian. However, the Code also says that pedestrians must not rush in front of a vehicle so that they create a hazard. Pedestrians also cannot delay traffic while in the crosswalk. If a driver fails to operate their vehicle carefully, and they injure a pedestrian, then the pedestrian can sue the driver for compensation. However, if the pedestrian did not exercise care, they might not have a lawsuit. Use Common Sense Pedestrians and motorists can protect everyone’s safety by using common sense and not being in a rush to get somewhere. Simply wait for vehicles or pedestrians to get through the crosswalk before heading across. The California Driver Handbook implores pedestrians and motorists to exhibit courtesy to each other, which will reduce the chances of an accident. Of course, some accidents are unavoidable, and pedestrians should do everything possible to protect their right to compensation. For example, you should do the following after getting struck: Contact emergency services to have an ambulance come out. Take pictures of anything, such as damage to the car that hit you, or the area where you landed. If you are in extreme pain, ask someone else to take these pictures with their camera. Contact the police to come out to the accident and write up a police report. These reports will contain important information. Identify any witnesses to the collision. Get their names and contact information. Promptly seek medical attention. The more information you find, the greater your case for compensation. If you are too injured to collect anything, then ask for help or have your lawyer look for this information as soon as possible. Contact Us Today If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, laws in California protect you. These laws allow injured pedestrians to hold negligent drivers accountable when they negligently injure other people. At the Beliz Law Firm, we meet with many people who have suffered devastating injuries in pedestrian crashes, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and permanent nerve damage. We know how stressful it is to be in pain and possibly unable to work. To speak with an attorney, please reach out to us today. One of our pedestrian accident lawyers can meet with you to discuss your case. Avoid delay. California law gives injured pedestrians a short amount of time to request compensation after a crash.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Seat Belt Laws in California

| Read Time: 3 minutes

Seat belts save lives. This simple fact is the reason that every passenger in a car in California must wear a seat belt, even when riding in the back seat. The California seat belt law is found in the Motor Vehicle Code § 27315 and is strictly enforced. Seat Belts are Required Under the California seatbelt law, no person can operate a vehicle on a highway unless the driver and all passengers aged 16 or older are wearing a safety belt. This law applies to passengers riding in the front seat as well as in the back. At a minimum, the seat belt should be a lap belt that crosses at the hips and upper thighs. If there is an upper portion to the belt, then it should cross the chest. The motor vehicle owner also must make sure to maintain that there are seat belts in the vehicle that works. This law also applies to anyone operating or owning a taxi. Penalties The seat belt law in California identifies the penalty that you will have to pay if the police pull you over and you are not wearing a belt: $20 fine for a first offense $50 fine for each subsequent offense Instead of paying the fine, you might be able to attend traffic school, where you will learn about traffic safety. Child Safety Seats Children have different safety needs, and for that reason, California has created separate seat belt requirements for children. Because restraints save lives, the state will require that you put your child in an appropriate car or booster seat. The type of seat you need will depend on several factors. Here are the details of the law: If your child is younger than 2, you should put them in a rear-facing seat unless the child is large for their age, e.g., 40+ pounds or 40+ inches tall. After age 2, they should be in a forward-facing safety seat. If your child is under age 8, then they must be secured in a booster or car seat located in the back seat. Children 8 or older, or any child that is 4’9” tall, can also be secured in a booster seat. If you choose not to use a booster seat, then but at a minimum,q the child must wear a safety belt. Children 16 or older must follow the seat belt law in California as described above. Some questions arise about when a child can move on from a car seat that has a five-point harness to a booster seat. California law does not lay out precisely when you should make this move. Instead, the state recommends that you take things slow. Graduating your child to a booster seat actually decreases the amount of restraint and safety they have, so California recommends that you keep your child in their current seat for as long as possible. California also provides some basic guidance: Your child is ready for a booster seat when they have surpassed the limits for a forward-facing harness, typically between 40 and 65 pounds. Children should stay in their booster seat until they are at least 4’9” tall and 8-12 years old. Remember that safety belts were designed for men around 165 pounds, so the belts are an awkward fit for smaller children. Seat Belts and Car Accidents California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that the law recognizes that a car accident victim could have contributed to their accident or injuries. The victim can still sue, but their own negligence will reduce the amount of compensation they can receive. Under the state’s seat belt law, failure to wear a seat belt is not per se proof of negligence. This means the driver cannot point to your failure to wear a seat belt as automatically proving you were negligent. However, a jury can still use the fact that you were not wearing a seatbelt to find that you contributed to your injuries. For this reason, wearing a seatbelt not only protects you but protects your right to compensation in the event of a collision. Speak to a Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer At the Beliz Law Firm, we have helped countless accident victims get the compensation they deserve. Please reach out to us today for a free consultation. One of our Long Beach car accident lawyers will be happy to meet with you to discuss your case as well as your options for compensation. Call 562-452-3772.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What Time of Day do Most Car Accidents Happen?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Car accidents can strike at any time. However, your chances of suffering an accident increase when there are more people on the road. For that reason, drivers should expect the most accidents to occur during rush hour traffic. And statistics bear this assumption out. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the most dangerous time to drive on the road is during afternoon rush hour traffic. Read on for more information about when your risk of getting into an accident is elevated. A Closer Look at the Most Dangerous Time to Drive Avvo looked at Fatality Analysis Reporting System data, provided by the federal government and broke down the number of fatalities according to the time of day in 3-hour increments: 1:00 am to 3:59 am: 4,019 fatalities 4:00 am to 6:59 am: 3,520 fatalities 7:00 am to 9:59 am: 3,345 fatalities 10:00 am to 12:59 pm: 3,864 fatalities 1:00 pm to 3:59 pm: 5,273 fatalities 4:00 pm to 6:59 pm: 6,201 fatalities 7:00 pm to 9:59 pm: 6,067 fatalities 10:00 pm to 12:59 am: 4,829 fatalities One thing that jumps out is how safe the morning rush hour period is compared to driving home from work.  For example, traffic fatalities early in the morning are very low. In fact, it seems that drivers are much more careful early in the morning. Indeed, fatalities are much lower in the 7:00 am to 9:59 am window than even in the 1:00 am to 3:59 am a window when fewer people should be on the road.  This could mean driving skills decrease as the day goes on.  Being drained from work may increase the chance of a serious accident while driving home.  Finally, darkness and visibility may increase fatal vehicle collisions. The Most Dangerous Day to Drive According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the most dangerous day to drive is the Fourth of July, based on a 2016 analysis. This should not be entirely surprising. As part of the festivities, many people enjoy far too much alcohol to drink, which impairs their driving ability. Also, because the weather on the Fourth is often hot, a driver will be even more impaired. With so many vehicles on the road, even sober drivers can become frustrated and engage in dangerous driving. Based on the same 2016 analysis, the other most dangerous days to drive include: January 1 September 18 August 2 August 27 July 5 October 2 Of the seven days of the week, Saturday is the most dangerous according to NHTSA. Actually, the weekend is when the most fatal accidents occur.  Less traffic with higher speeds may be the reason for the higher numbers.  Conversely, the safest day to be on the road is Tuesday. (Interactive Map) In 2016, the number of car crash-related fatalities were as follows: Sunday: 5,809 Monday: 4,883 Tuesday: 4,444 Wednesday: 4,695 Thursday: 5,002 Friday: 5,826 Saturday: 6,802 If you need to go on a long trip, then Tuesday or Wednesday would seem to be ideal days. Protecting Yourself The reason so many accidents happen on certain days and at certain times is that roads are congested. But you probably need to be on the road at the same time, along with everyone else. What can you do? Clearly, drivers should exercise extreme caution when driving during rush hour. Remember to leave enough room between you and other vehicles, preferably four seconds of time. Also be reasonable when someone is trying to merge into traffic. If possible, you can scoot into the other lane, leaving the room. You should also avoid drinking on holidays, since alcohol will dramatically slow down your reflexes and impair your judgment, thus increasing the likelihood of a crash. If you see someone driving erratically, report them to the authorities. If you are feeling fatigued, remember to pull over to the side of the road. Speak to a Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer Rush hour might be the most dangerous time to drive, but motorists and pedestrians can suffer a serious injury at any time. If you have been injured in an accident, you need compensation to help you cover medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Your pain and suffering also warrant compensation. Contact the Beliz Law Firm today. Our car accident lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve and are prepared to negotiate aggressively on your behalf. Call 562-452-3772 for a free consultation or send us an online contact form.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Who is Responsible for Uber or Lyft Accidents in California?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

For immediate help from an experienced car accident lawyer, reach out to Michael Beliz today. California is a “fault” state, meaning that drivers who cause accidents are financially responsible for them. Injured victims can make a claim for compensation with the at-fault driver’s insurer for things like medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. These same rules apply if you are struck by an Uber or a Lyft driver, or if you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft. Sometimes the driver responsible does not have any insurance, or they do not have enough to cover the full cost of your injuries. In these situations, you will need to check whether uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage is available. Below, let’s look at some common scenarios. You are Injured as an Uber Car Accident Passenger Here, the driver responsible for the crash is responsible for compensating you. This might be your Uber/Lyft driver or it might be another motorist who struck you. Either way, you will make a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. Currently, the amount of Lyft or Uber passenger insurance is $1 million, which should certainly cover your injuries. Things can get tricky, however, if another motorist struck you but is uninsured. Helpfully, your ridesharing company should have underinsured motorist insurance for $1 million, which will kick in to cover you. You are Struck by an Uber or Lyft Driver In this situation, the Uber or Lyft driver is responsible for your injuries. It doesn’t matter whether you are another motorist or a pedestrian. In an Uber or Lyft driver car accident, you make a claim with the driver’s insurance. However, the amount of insurance available will depend on whether the driver was logged in the ridesharing app and whether they were actually transporting a ride: If the driver was not logged into the app, then the only insurance available is the personal insurance they carry on their vehicle. This is really no different than being struck by a person who doesn’t drive for Uber. Hopefully, the driver should have the minimum liability insurance required by California, which is $15,000 per person in bodily injury liability. If not, you might be able to use your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, if you have it. If the driver was logged into the ridesharing app and looking for rides when they struck you, then the Uber driver should have at least $50,000 in liability insurance up to $100,000 per accident and another $30,000 in property damage. Uber also carries $200,000 in excess liability coverage. If the driver had accepted a ride when he or she hit you, or if they actually had passengers with them, then the maximum amount of insurance applies. Uber drivers should have $1 million in liability insurance and another $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist injury coverage. You are an Uber/Lyft Driver Struck by Another Motorist In this case, you need to make a claim for compensation with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You should get this information soon after the crash and report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles, as is required by state law. Confused after an Uber or Lyft Accident? Reach Out to Us Today Injured motorists and pedestrians need compensation to help them piece together their lives after an accident. At the Beliz Law Firm, we are well-versed in the complexity of Uber and Lyft car accidents and understand who you need to file a claim with. In this difficult time, you should focus on getting well and being with your family. Let us do the heavy lifting of obtaining the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, please call us as at 562-452-3772 or send us a private message. Please avoid delay. Injured victims have a limited amount of time to make a claim after an accident.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

 What’s the Average Settlement for a Pedestrian Hit by a Car?

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Car accidents can cause devastating injuries, especially to pedestrians. Unlike motorists, pedestrians have no protective barrier between them and the car that strikes them. As a result, pedestrians often need tens of thousands of dollars in medical care, and they are at higher risk of suffering permanent injuries. Injured pedestrians also can miss months of work, which makes obtaining compensation that much more critical. After your accident, you might wonder about the average settlement for a pedestrian hit by a car. In reality, there is no “average” settlement amount. Because settlements are usually confidential, no one has collected this information to come up with a believable number. The better course is to focus on the factors that go into calculating your settlement amount. Calculate How Much Your Medical Care Costs The purpose of a settlement is to make you “whole.” Basically, this means the settlement should put you in the position you would be in had you never been involved in an accident. One factor we look at it is how much money your medical care has cost. With minor injuries, like sprains or strains, you might only need a couple thousand dollars in medical care, possibly less. For serious injuries, like traumatic brain injuries or bad burns, you could need much more. It is very easy to calculate the cost of medical care. Find all bills and receipts and add up the amounts. Remember you can receive compensation for things like rehabilitation, prescription drugs, and supportive devices such as crutches or wheelchairs. You might also receive compensation for transportation to the hospital or doctors visits. Add Up Your Lost Wages Another economic loss associated with car accidents are lost wages. If your broken leg or concussion causes you to miss work, then you can receive the wages you would have earned had you not been injured. Look at your pay stubs and calculate the amount. You can even receive lost wages if you are self-employed—provided you can establish what you would have earned with reasonable certainty. For example, if you had to cancel some contracts while you recovered, then you can probably receive their value in compensation. Estimate Your Pain and Suffering If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, settlement negotiations should include discussion of your intangible losses, like pain or emotional distress. The simple fact is that accidents cause some losses that are hard to calculate in dollars and cents. Nevertheless, these losses are very real. Many of our clients report a serious reduction in the quality of life after getting struck by a car. The amount you can receive usually depends on the seriousness of your physical injuries. A sprain that causes a couple of weeks of discomfort probably will not earn you much in pain and suffering. But an injury that prevents you from enjoying your favorite hobbies or playing with your children may be worth much more. When clients suffer permanent, life-changing injuries like paralysis, they can receive a considerable amount for pain and suffering. Analyze the Driver’s Insurance Policy The driver’s insurance policy will usually act as a ceiling to the amount you can receive. Regardless of how much money the accident has cost you—and regardless of the severity of your injuries—the fact is it is very rare for you to get more in a settlement than the driver has in insurance. California only requires that drivers carry $15,000 in injury liability insurance per person, and many drivers only carry the minimum. If your injuries are worth $50,000, you still might need to settle for $15,000. Of course, you can file a lawsuit as a pedestrian hit by a car but, again, you will probably not get more than the policy limit in compensation. Call an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Long Beach Negotiating a settlement is complicated, and you need someone experienced to represent you. At the Beliz Law Firm, we have gone up against many of the state’s largest insurers, and we know how to get a favorable settlement for our clients. By hiring us, you will get an advocate who knows how to build these cases the right way and who is not intimidated by insurer dirty tricks. To find out more about whether we can help you, please contact us right away. We offer clients a free consultation, which they can schedule by calling 562-452-3772.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident

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California has strict laws against fleeing the scene of an accident without providing contact information. Unfortunately, too many drivers flee, breaking the law in the process and leaving you with property damage or, worse, physical injuries. If you have suffered damage in a hit and run car accident, you should follow these tips before reaching out to a hit and run lawyer. Get Medical Treatment If you were in the car when it was struck, you should check to make sure everyone is okay. If someone needs help, contact 911 and ask for an ambulance. If injuries are less serious, you might drive to the hospital yourself later, but it is important to get prompt medical treatment because not all serious injuries are apparent or visible after a car accident. Note Details about the Car that Struck You You might have been in a store when someone struck your car, in which case you might not know anything about the offending motorist. However, if you were in the car when it was hit, you should collect as much information as possible: The car’s make and model; The car color; The license plate number; What the driver looked like; and Anything else that stands out, like a bumper sticker or a burnt-out taillight. Check with nearby witnesses who might have seen more than you did. Get their names and contact information as well as what they saw. If you were struck in a parking lot, then surveillance videos might have captured the motorist before they fled. You can stop into a store and ask if they have video of the parking lot. Give them the date and time of the accident. Report the Accident California law requires that you report car accidents to the DMV within 10 days if the accident caused $1,000 or more of damage or if anyone was physically injured or killed. If you do not file this report, your license can be suspended. Check if Insurance Applies California is a “fault” state, meaning the driver at fault for an accident pays for your injuries and damage to the vehicle. Unfortunately, if a driver flees, you won’t be able to make a claim with their insurer unless you find the driver. Nevertheless, you might carry insurance that will cover you, such as: Collision insurance, which can pay to repair your car. Medical payments, which can pay for medical care. Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) bodily injury coverage, which can pay for medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, these forms of insurance are voluntary in California, meaning you might not have them. If not, your only chance of receiving compensation is to find out the driver who hit you so you can make a claim. Confused about What to Do in a Hit and Run? Contact Us Today At the Beliz Law Firm, our hit and run lawyers have helped countless clients get the compensation they need. If you identify the driver, we can help make a claim with his or her insurance company. If you have UM coverage, we can work with your insurer to get you full and fair compensation for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation, please call us today, 562-452-3772.

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