San Jose California Personal Injury Legal Blog

Key components of a successful negligence claim

When someone lets you down, it can be disappointing. However, when the letdown causes injury to you, it can lead to serious consequences.

Thankfully, it may be possible to seek restitution through a personal injury claim. To create a successful process, you must prove negligence. When doing so, consider a few key components.

TBIs and recovery

People in California who have a family member that has been involved in an accident in which they experienced a traumatic brain injury will need and want to learn about these very special types of injury and the potential recovery process. Every brain injury is unique which can make it difficult to determine a clear prognosis but there are ways that people can glean some insights into the potential future lives of their loved ones. 

As explained by Brainline, a person with a brain injury may end up with challenges in many areas of their life. They may experience both mental and physical disabilities that can last a lifetime. Some impairments may improve over time while others may not. Examples of potential lifelong challenges for people with brain injuries include walking, communicating, thinking, remembering details, paralysis and maintaining healthy interpersonal relationship.

What are catastrophic injuries?

Any personal injury resulting from an accident has the potential to be serious and necessitate you seeking compensation. However, you and other California residents may be interested in learning about catastrophic injuries, which signify a legal term describing a certain type of personal injury. Catastrophic injuries can differ from other types of injuries resulting from a car crash, workplace accident or other form of accident.

According to FindLaw, a catastrophic injury is an injury that is serious and usually permanent, which may result in a lifelong disability or ongoing pain and suffering. For example, if a drunk driver hits your car head-on, resulting in spinal injuries that leave you permanently in a wheelchair, your injuries would be considered catastrophic. You would likely need specialized medical care for the rest of your life, and depending on your limited abilities and the type of work you did before the accident, you might not be able to work anymore. Other catastrophic injuries can include the following:

  • A traumatic brain injury after slipping and falling on a spill at the grocery store
  • A limb amputation resulting from a workplace accident
  • Life-threatening burns from a faulty appliance that caught fire

Hours of service regulations for bus drivers

You know how tiring a long drive can be. Sometimes, it may be easier to simply buy a bus ticket in San Jose and leave the driving to someone else. Yet what is to say that the bus driver will not also become fatigued during your journey? It is well-known that long-haul truckers transporting freight are to follow strict hours of service regulations. Many come to us here at Shea & Shea - a Professional Law Corporation questioning whether the same standards are assigned to bus drivers. 

The answer to that question is yes...and no. The person driving your bus is not expected to adhere to the same working standard as a truck driver. That said, there are hours of service guidelines in place for drivers who transport passengers. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, these are: 

  • Bus drivers may only drive a maximum of 10 hours after having taken eight consecutive hours off duty
  • A bus driver's 10 driving hours must be completed with a 15-hour time period, after which they are required to take eight consecutive hours off
  • A bus driver can only drive between 60-70 hours within seven to eight consecutive days

Autonomous vehicle testing and safety

People who live in California and particularly in the Bay Area have likely seen a self-driving car on the road at some point in the past few years as more of more of these vehicles are being deployed largely for testing purposes. However, this testing alone has garnered some criticism as opponents highlight the potential safety issues with doing so.

As reported by Curbed, there are many groups and individuals that dispute the ultimate safety of a computer-controlled vehicle, saying it is not appropriate to test autonomous cars on road with real human beings as it puts humans in harm's way. The death of a pedestrian in an Arizona accident involving a self-driving car was followed by an increase in these assertions.

The 3 main culprits of distracted driving

California became one of the first states to make driving and talking on a cellphone illegal. Even so, more and more drivers continue to drive while distracted by phones.

The statistics on distracted driving accidents have begun to look more like drunk driving statistics. What actually constitutes distracted driving? Here are the three elements behind driving distracted.

Commercial drivers, fatigue and safety

According to data collected and reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicular fatalities in accidents involving large commercial trucks have increased every single year from 2013 to 2017 in the state of California. In 2013, there were 259 deaths in large truck collisions. That was followed by 301 and 305 deaths in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Another 354 people were killed in truck crashes in 2016. Finally, in 2017, 361 lives were lost on California roads and highways in truck accidents.

Trucker fatigue has long been identified as a common contributing factor to accidents involving semi-trucks and other big rigs. It is for this reason that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has put into place what it calls the Hours of Service rule

New IID law in California still lesser than in other states

Residents in California have good reason to be concerned about the problems associated with drunk driving. Despite the fact that there has been widespread education about how alcohol impairs a person's judgment over the past few decades, drivers refuse to give up their keys even when they know they will be drinking. Every year, numerous lives are lost at the hands of drunk drivers.

Another part of the problem with drunk driving is that many of the people who are arrested or who cause accidents after they have been drinking have been arrested and convicted of prior impaired driving offenses. It seems that people simply will not learn from the first experience in many cases. This is part of why California has now enacted a new law that requires the installation and use of an ignition interlock device for anyone convicted of a second or subsequent offense for driving under the influence. Drivers would be required to use IIDs for at least 12 months.

Pedestrian fatalities in the Bay Area

Residents in California know that they enjoy relatively mild temperatures and weather all year long. This makes it more pleasant to be out on foot more regularly than in other parts of the country. However, there can be a serious risk of being hit by vehicles for pedestrians even in daylight hours as well as when the sun has gone down.

In some situations, motorists even fail to stop after hitting pedestrians, such as in the case of a woman who was killed in a hit-and-run accident the week before Christmas in San Jose. ABC 7 News said the woman died after being transported to a hospital. 

Spotlighting the Glasgow Coma Scale

Dealing with the aftermath of a loved one suffering a traumatic brain injury in San Jose can be an extraordinary challenge, yet not one that is insurmountable if you are prepared for it. You just need to know what to expect in regards to their physical and cognitive limitations. Many come to us here at Shea & Shea immediate following their loved ones suffering a TBI wondering how they might now what their long-term prognosis may be. You can quickly develop a general expectation if you know your loved one's Glasgow Coma Scale score. 

The GCS is a test based off clinical observations that health care providers use to assess the extent of a brain injury. Specifically, they pay attention to the following types of responses from a TBI victim: 

  • Eye movement
  • Speech
  • Motor response 
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Shea & Shea - A Professional Law Corporation
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San Jose, CA 95128

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