Car Accident Articles

The 411 on Rear End Accidents & Whiplash Injuries in California

Many people today associate the word “whiplash” with a fraudulent injury dreamed up by an individual attempting to seek financial gain at another’s expense.  This is largely due to the fact that whiplash injuries can be extremely difficult to diagnose and, has often been overdramatized in the media.  The term whiplash is generally associated with any injury to the soft tissue of the cervical spine including muscles, nerves, ligaments and discs.  In truth, whiplash is a very real, very painful and potentially debilitating injury. In fact, research suggests that as many as 10% of all whiplash injuries can lead to permanent disability with chronic pain and other serious conditions.  With this in mind, it is important to understand how most whiplash injuries are caused, the symptoms associated therewith, the ways of diagnosing and treating whiplash, and its potential long terms effects.  Considering the following:

What Happens During a Rear End Accident that Causes Whiplash?

During a relatively low-speed rear-impact collision, the front vehicle is pushed very rapidly forward from the initial impact. The automobile seat pushes the passenger’s body forward at the same rate of speed, but because the head lacks the same support as the body, the neck is compressed and there is a rapid forward bending (much like the snap of a whip) of the neck followed by an equally rapid backward bend. This “snapping” motion occurs before the head actually makes contact with the seat’s head restraint.

This violent snapping motion can not only force the vertebrae from normal positions, it can lead to serious levels of pain which radiate through the entire upper body and can greatly reduce range of motion. The level of injury will depend on the size of both vehicles, the speed of the collision, the type of headrests installed in the vehicle and whether they were properly adjusted for the driver or passengers, awareness of the impending collision and the prior medical condition of those involved.

What are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

The most common symptoms of whiplash include the following:

  • stiffness or tenderness in the neck area
  • chronic headaches
  • vertigo or dizziness
  • nausea, jaw pain
  • shoulder or arm pain
  • vision blurriness or numbness
  • tingling in the back, shoulders or arms.

Particularly severe cases of whiplash can lead to memory loss, irritability, depression, insomnia, extreme fatigue, difficulty swallowing and other negative cognitive symptoms.

How are Whiplash Injuries in California Diagnosed and Treated?

While the injuries may not show up on x-rays, MRI’s or CT scans, a thorough patient history combined with a comprehensive physical exam can diagnose whiplash injuries. Pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants may be the only treatment available to those with whiplash injuries, although chiropractic care can offer positive results for many.

What are the Potential Long Term Effects of Whiplash?

In some cases, once the soft tissue of the neck is injured, the patient’s health may never be restored to anything resembling “normal” again.  Severely injured soft tissue can generate pain for the rest of the patient’s life and damage done to the ligaments could cause arthritis conditions to develop even years later.

Contact the Skolnick Law Group Now for Superior Personal Injury Representation!

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with whiplash as a result of a car accident?  At the Skolnick Law Group, Suzanne Skolnick will fight tirelessly for the compensation you deserve.  She will also take the time necessary to answer all of your questions, guide you through the legal process, and assist you in making informed decisions about your case.  Our law firm serves clients in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Vista, Oceanside, San Marcos and throughout North County San Diego. To learn more about the firm’s comprehensive legal services, contact us at (760) 405-4397, or, feel free to visit us online to schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation. Attorney Skolnick also offers evening and weekend appointments available, and will also visit you at home in the event you can’t come to us.  For the personal attention and aggressive representation you need, contact Skolnick Law Group today.

Skolnick Law Group In Carlsbad Ca Discuss the Most Common California Accident Causes

In general, drivers of automobiles, trucks, motorcycles and all other types of vehicles are expected to use “reasonable care” while operating a vehicle in California.  In other words, a California driver has a duty to operate their vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner.  Failure to do so can result in liability under a theory of negligence, potentially costing the offender a significant amount of money for any damages or injuries that were caused by the accident.

In order to succeed in a negligence action, a victim must prove that the other driver is liable for his or her failure to exercise reasonable care. Moreover, California courts, in adjudicating these types of cases, consider a number of different factors in determining a driver’s potential negligence, mainly pertaining to the driver’s bad habits.  While not exhaustive, these factors include:

  1. Failure to use a turn signal when driving
  2. Not following the rules of the road
  3. Speeding
  4. Failure to consider bad weather or adverse traffic conditions
  5. Driving under the influence
  6. Improper passing or changing lanes on a highway
  7. Driving while distracted, i.e., whether due to eating, texting, or talking to other passengers
  8. Reckless and/or careless driving
  9. Automobile manufacturing and/or design defects

Preventing Accidents in California

While not all accidents can be prevented, there are ways in which you can avoid them.  Accordingly, the following are a number of tips that can help you prevent a potential negligence suit:

  1. Obey the rules of the road – as much as you would like to test out the maximum speed of your brand new Mustang, it is best to avoid speeding. The higher the speed, the more likely an accident will occur, especially one involving serious injury or death.
  2. Be good to your car – keeping your car in good repair is really a no brainer.  Many accidents are caused by people who fail to maintain their vehicle, such as by not changing the filters or failing to check that their tires are in good shape.
  3. Pay attention!  There is a reason why the anti-texting slogan “it can wait” has become so heavily advertised on television.  In the United States, over 300,000 accidents are caused each year due to distracted driving.  If you need to respond to a text message or email, be smart and pull over before engaging in dangerous multi-tasking.
  4. Watch out for bikers and pedestrians – in California, many people love to be outdoors, especially during the summer months.  As such, it is crucial to watch out for people who are out and about, especially bikers and runners who tend to be on or near the road.

Contact the Skolnick Law Group Now for Superior Personal Injury Representation!

If you or someone you know has been injured in any type of vehicular accident in California, it is crucial that you hire an attorney experienced in handling these types of cases.  At the Skolnick Law Group, we will fight tirelessly for the compensation you deserve.  We will also take the time necessary to answer all of your questions, guide you through the legal process, and assist you in making informed decisions about your case.  As a seasoned personal injury lawyer, we serve clients in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Vista, Oceanside, San Marcos and throughout North County San Diego. To learn more about the firm’s comprehensive legal services, contact us at (760) 405-4397, or feel free to visit us online to schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation. We have evening and weekend appointments available, and will also visit you at home in the event you can’t come to us.  For the personal attention and aggressive representation you need, contact us today.

Carlsbad Auto Accident Attorney Examines Problem of Overloaded and Improperly Loaded Vehicles

There are several reasons why accidents occur throughout the U.S.  However, in the State of California, numerous traffic problems and accidents arise as a direct result of vehicles that have been either been overloaded or improperly loaded.  Loose items such as trash, construction materials, equipment, luggage, aggregate materials (i.e. sand, stone, etc.), and improperly secured logs have created serious and life threatening hazards for California drivers.

In order to prevent these types of accidents, there are specific laws in California that address the proper loading and corresponding weight requirements of trucks within the State.  First and foremost, California law requires that every driver, whether they were responsible for loading their vehicle or not, (i) inspect their vehicles prior to taking off, (ii) identify improperly secured items or those that are poorly balanced, and (iii) ensure that loads are covered and/or properly secured.  Additional laws that apply to vehicle loading are as follows:

  1. Passenger vehicle load restrictions – in California, no passenger vehicle may be driven on any highway within the State that has anything extending beyond the car’s left side fenders.  Moreover, nothing can extend more than 6 inches past the vehicle’s right side venders.  Anything extending beyond the rear bumper must have a red flag or warning lights affixed thereto.
  2. Vehicle load height restrictions – no vehicle in the State is allowed to have a load exceeding fourteen feet in height from the road, with the exception of double decker buses.
  3. Containment of debris – under California law, a vehicle transporting loose items must be properly contained, whether through being covered, securely loaded, or constructed in a way so as to prevent loose debris from falling and potentially injuring other drivers.
  4. Aggregate material containment – California requires that aggregate materials, such as sand, stones, or recycled concrete, often used in construction, must only be stored in the cargo portion of a vehicle.  Said area must not contain any openings or cracks that would facilitate the escape of said materials.

If you happen to notice a truck or any other type of vehicle that appears to have been improperly loaded or is creating a road hazard due to loose and falling debris, do not hesitate to contact police and report the driver.  Make sure to get the make, model and license plate number of the offender. Taking the time to report these offenders can save countless lives.  Additionally, if you transport cargo, it is crucial that you follow the above requirements.  To learn more about safe vehicle loading, visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ website.

Contact the Skolnick Law Group Now for the Personal Attention You Deserve!

If you or someone you know has been injured, it is crucial that you hire an accident attorney experienced in handling these types of cases.  At the Skolnick Law Group we will fight tirelessly for the compensation you deserve.  We will also take the time necessary to answer all of your questions, guide you through the legal process, and assist you in making informed decisions about your case.  We serve clients in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Vista, Oceanside, San Marcos and throughout North County San Diego. To learn more about the firm’s comprehensive legal services, contact us at (760) 405-4397, or, feel free to visit us online to schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation. We have evening and weekend appointments available, and will also visit you at home in the event you can’t come to us.  Don’t wait – give us a call now for the personal attention and aggressive representation you need.

Carlsbad Personal Injury Attorney Discusses San Diego Back Over Accidents

Back over accidents are serious and can result in life threatening injuries.  A back over accident occurs when a person, typically a child, is struck as a vehicle backs out of a driveway or parking spot. In the United States, tragic back over accidents are more prevalent that you think, with nearly 50 occurring each week nationwide.  In fact, back over accidents kill more than 100 children per year, the majority of whom are between the ages of 1 and 2.

Just this past October, a Ramona toddler was fatally injured when her mother backed the family’s minivan out of the driveway and struck her.  Another child was killed in Normal Heights as his caretaker’s daughter was leaving their home and hit him as he played in the driveway.  According to back over accident experts, in about 70% of these types of accidents, the driver is related to a child, and is either a parent or close relative.  Moreover, minivans are a common culprit in these types of accidents since their blind spots are larger than other vehicles.  Specifically, the average length of a rear view blind spot for the average driver (of 5’8” height) is approximately 12 feet 6 inches for a sedan-sized vehicle, while a driver of a minivan has a blind spot of about 15 feet 4 inches.

The unfortunate part of back over accidents is that all of them could easily have been prevented.  With thousands of children being involved in these accidents across the U.S., it is important for parents and others to take certain life-saving precautions.  These include:

  • Walk around your vehicle and inspect the entire area before getting in.  This critical step helps to ensure that nothing, including pets, toys, and children are in the way when you back your vehicle out of the garage/driveway.
  • Do not let kids play in your driveway.  Driveways are dangerous and as such, are not a proper playground for children.  If you do not have sufficient yard space, consider alternatives such as a park or soccer field that is safe and enables your children to more freely move around. If you do have a backyard, instruct your children to play there instead of the road or driveway.
  • Talk to your children about driveway safety.  Regardless of whether your children play in the driveway or not, it is important for you to advise them of the safety steps they can take to avoid injury.  This includes telling them to find a safe spot when someone is either pulling in or out and waiting to resume play until an arriving vehicle has been completely shut off/a departing vehicle is well on its way down the road.
  • Hold your kids hands.  This is a simple, yet essential step you can take to ensure your kids’ safety.  Teach your kids to assume that cars will not always see them, and that is important to hold your hand when around cars, on a sidewalk, and in a parking lot or driveway.

To learn more about child driveway safety, consult the Safe Kids WorldwideTM (SKWW) website.  SKWW, an international non-profit organization dedicated to preventing childhood injuries, has a significant amount of information regarding driveway safety tips, which we recommend that you review.  Also, contact an experienced San Diego pedestrian attorney if you or someone you love was injured in a back over accident.

Were You Injured in a Pedestrian Accident?  Contact the Skolnick Law Group Now!

If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident, it is important to take legal action now. At the Skolnick Law Group,we will advise you of all your legal options and, help maximize your chances of recovering the money that you deserve for your losses.  We serve clients in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Vista, Oceanside, San Marcos and throughout North County San Diego.  Contact us today at (760) 405-4397, or, feel free to visit us online to schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation. We have evening and weekend appointments available, and will also visit you at home in the event you can’t come to us.  We look forward to providing you with superior legal representation.

Skolnick Law Group Discusses The Prevalence of Distracted Driving in California

Texting, talking, or sending emails while driving remains one of the biggest safety concerns on the road.  According California’s 2012 annual “Statewide Traffic Safety Survey,” 60% of drivers in California have been hit or nearly hit by another person who was texting or talking on their cell phone while driving.  Equally alarming is the fact that nearly 45% of California drivers admit to driver error as a result of using a cell phone when behind the wheel.  As a result of these surprising statistics, the State of California has taken significant measures to reduce the prevalence of distracted driving-related accidents. Specifically, the first two laws ban drivers from using handheld cell phones and also, prohibit drivers who are eighteen years or younger from using hands-free devices while operating a vehicle.  The third law prohibits sending text messages while driving.  For additional information on California’s cellular phone laws, you can visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ website.

California Cellular Phone Laws Explained

California, along with several other states, has enacted laws prohibiting the use of handheld cellular phones while driving.  The first law, California Vehicle Code [VC] §23123, specifically forbids people from operating a vehicle while using a handheld phone however, passengers are not subject to said restriction.  Additionally, all drivers, whether they be residents of the State or not, are held to the same standard.  The only exceptions to this law is that people can use their handheld devices to call for emergency assistance, place calls while operating an official emergency vehicle, or, use their phones while operating vehicles on their privately owned land.

If a person is caught violating the handheld cell phone law, the first fine that can be imposed is $76.00, while a second violation costs $190.00.  Although a traffic violation (i.e., moving violation) can amount to points assessed against your driver’s license, a violation of the aforesaid law does not count as a point.  Keep in mind that a California police officer has the right to pull you over and give you a ticket for failing to adhere to the law.

As for California’s second law, California Vehicle Code [VC] §23123.5, it places certain restrictions on the use of hands-free devices, which differ based upon the age of driver. Specifically, for California drivers aged eighteen or older, hands-free devices such as Bluetooth, speakerphones or ear pieces are allowed however, earpieces cannot be used to cover both ears.  Drivers can dial their phones while driving however, they are strongly urged to pull over or stop before doing so.

For drivers less than eighteen, they are not allowed to use a cell phone under any circumstances unless due to an emergency.  If someone under the age of eighteen is caught using a cell phone, the fine for a first offense is $76.00, which a second violation costing $190.00.  Moreover, the prohibition against the use of hands-free devices in minor drivers constitutes a secondary offense, meaning that a police officer must have another independent and legally legitimate reason for pulling you over.  In other words, if a teen is caught driving while using a cell phone, they cannot be pulled over for said infraction unless they violated another law, such as failing to use their turn signal, etc.

Lastly, the third law in California pertains to the prohibition imposed on texting while driving (California Vehicle Code [VC] §23124.  If you are caught texting, writing emails, or reading texts while driving, you can be imposed a $20.00 fine initially, and $50.00 for each subsequently imposed violation.

As evident from the foregoing, the State of California has recognized the importance of restricting people’s usage of cell phones while driving.  With nearly 25% of accidents in the Unites States caused by distracted drivers, the State of California realized that it had to take some serious and proactive measures to protect drivers within its borders.  The hope is that all states follow in California’s footsteps, as the use of cell phones while driving can lead to life threatening and sometimes fatal injuries.

Contact the Skolnick Law Group Now for the Personal Attention You Deserve!

If you or someone you know has been injured by a distracted driver in California, it is crucial that you hire an attorney experienced in handling these types of cases.  At the Skolnick Law Group, we will fight tirelessly for the compensation you deserve.  We will also take the time necessary to answer all of your questions, guide you through the legal process, and assist you in making informed decisions about your case.  We serve clients in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Vista, Oceanside, San Marcos and throughout North County San Diego. To learn more about the firm’s comprehensive legal services, contact us at (760) 405-4397, or, feel free to visit us online to schedule your free and completely confidential initial consultation. We have evening and weekend appointments available, and will also visit you at home in the event you can’t come to us.  Don’t wait – give us a call now for the personal attention and aggressive representation you need.