Articles Posted in Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage

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If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, you have suffered a personal injury in legal terms. In order to obtain compensation for your personal injury, your claim must have the following basic elements:

  • A duty existed – You must establish that the defendant (e.g. the other driver in a car accident case) had a duty to fulfill. This ‘duty’ can be as straightforward as the obligation to drive safely. In more complex cases, a company may have the express duty to prevent injuries from occurring.
  • The duty was breached – Your injury claim begins when the defendant breached their duty, creating the potential for liability. For example, the other driver may have breached their duty to drive safely when they ran a red light.
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If you were injured in a car accident, you may be able to make a legal claim against the person who caused the accident. There is no way to know if you can make a claim without consulting an experienced accident attorney. There are many factors that can contribute to causing an accident, and attorney Zev Rubinstein has the experience to sort out the details of your case and advise you of your legal options.

Some elements common to all accident claims are:

  • You were involved in a car accident
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San Diego News 10 reported that 44-year-old Grant Fisher of Escondido sustained serious injuries as a result of being hit by a car on January 19, 2012. The auto accident happened when Fisher was riding in the bike lane on Sorrento Valley Boulevard during his lunch. Police reported that 76-year-old Cecilia Cueva allegedly swerved to avoid a speeding truck behind her causing her to hit Fisher. He was pinned under the vehicle, Which caused severe burns and spinal injury. Fisher was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital where doctors said he may never walk again and will be there for the next month or longer.

Applicable California Law

California Vehicle Code 21658(a) requires the driver of a vehicle driving on a road with divided lanes not to move from their lane until it is reasonably safe to do so. Although Cueva said she never saw Fisher prior to hitting him she will still be liable for his property damage and personal injury. This would include the repair or replacement of his bicycle as well as his medical expenses, lost earnings and earning capacity as well as compensation for pain and suffering. Since Fishers long term prognosis is doubtful with respect to his ability to walk again, the adequacy of Cueva’s insurance coverage and or other assets are of particular concern (see my prior Blog post on California Law On Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage)

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San Diego News 8 reported that five victims were fatally injured as a result of a hit-and-run auto accident on Saturday afternoon, November 13, 2010.  Four motorcyclists as well as a passenger in another vehicle were killed and six others were seriously injured. The accident happened on Route 98 at around 1:00 p. m, on a remote desert two-lane highway in Ocotillo. The riders were members of a Lakeside motorcycle club  who were on their way to celebrate their 10th anniversary  in Yuma Arizona. Carlos Bobadilla,  driving a Dodge Avenger swerved to avoid hitting a Honda Civic, whose driver was attempting to pass the group of riders. Bobadilla lost control of his vehicle, and drove his vehicle into the group of riders. Four of the motorcycle group members were killed as well as the owner of the Avenger.  Six others were injured including  Bobadilla who was taken to a hospital for treatment of hand fractures. The driver of the Honda, did not stop and left the scene. Bobadilla who allegedly was driving under the influence was later arrested . According to CHP officer  DeeAnn Goudie  it is still unclear if his alcohol consumption contributed to the accident, and thus he is only being charged with a misdemeanor at this time.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to the friends and families of those who lost their lives.

 

Applicable California Law

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images.jpgSan Diego News 8 reported that an unidentified woman passenger in a Hyundai Sonata was fatally injured on October 8, 2011. The tragic auto accident happened at around 2:30 a.m. on state Route 78 and Bear Valley Parkway in Escondido, when 21-year-old Joshua Goldbaum of Escondido collided into a Ford Aerostar van. One of Goldbaum’s passengers died, another was injured as well as the driver of the van. The passenger in the van, who sustained major injuries is expected to survive. According to CHP Officer Bettencourt, Goldbaum who fled the scene, was later arrested and taken to the Vista jail and faces numerous felony charges for hit-and-run, gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence.

Our condolences go out to the families and friends of those who tragically lost their lives

Applicable California Law

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pedestrian-injuries.jpgSIGNON SAN DIEGO Susan Shroder reported that Sharlotte Kingston a 36-year-old Poway woman, was struck by a pickup truck while walking her dog on September 13, 2011. The truck accident happened on Valley Verde Road and Dorset Way at around 11 a.m. According to Sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Vengler, a 58-year-old Poway man allegedly lost control of his truck, hit a street sign, and then the woman. She sustained multiple injuries, including a head injury and was transported to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido in critical condition.

Applicable California Law

The pickup truck driver will be liable for the woman’s personal injuries and for violation of Vehicle Code 21658, which requires drivers to stay within their lane unless any movement can be made safely. The woman’s claims would include economic damages such as medical expenses, lost earnings and earning capacity. In addition, there would be damages for pain and suffering, to include past and future physical pain, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, physical impairment, inconvenience, grief, anxiety, humiliation, and emotional distress. Given a significant head injury, her damages will be significant and hopefully the truck driver has enough assets and or insurance coverage to adequately compensate the victim for her injuries (see my prior Blog post Uninsured / Under-insured Auto and General Accident Guide).

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brain-injury2Sign on San Diego Kristine Davis reported that Jessica Bloom, 21, of Rancho Bernardo pled not guilty to felony hit-and-run drunk driving on August 3, 2011. The charges arose out of auto accident on July 31, 2011 at around 12:30 p.m. when she rear-ended Sgt. David Smith, 34, a career Marine originally from Texas. Smith was stopped at a traffic light at Bernardo Center Drive near West Bernardo Drive on his motorcycle when he was hit and sustained a serious head injury. Witnesses saw Bloom hit Smith and flee the scene, she was later arrested. Deputy Attorney Matthew Williams said Bloom’s blood-alcohol level was .37, four times the legal limit. Smith was taken to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido where he remains in a medically induced coma. Smith’s fiancée, Vanessa Potts, said “It’s unfair, we’ve been through a lot this past couple years and he’s been through a lot in his military career, surviving an IED explosion. How do you come home and get hurt doing something that you love? I mean, he genuinely loves riding. That day, the last message I got from him was how beautiful the day was, and how he wished he could ride all day.”

Applicable California Law

Bloom faces felony hit-and-run and drunk driving charges (see my prior Blog post San Diego Hit-And-Run Auto Accident Causes Severe Brain Injury on Hit-and-Run and DUI Law in California). In addition, Smith will have claims for his personal injury; however, it is doubtful that Bloom carries enough insurance coverage to adequately compensate Smith for his injuries. Being put into an induced coma for any length of time will result in tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs and most likely lifelong consequences. Hopefully Smith has the benefit of substantial uninsured/underinsured coverage of his ownown (see my prior Blog post Uninsured / Under-insured Auto and General Accident Guide)

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Teen-DrivingSan Diego News 10 reported that 77-year-old James Cummings of Ocean Beach was fatally injured as a result of an auto accident on July 7, 2011. The fatal accident happened around 12:30 a.m. and was caused by an unnamed 15-year-old boy who was joy-riding in his mother’s Toyota 4-Runner with four of his friends. He missed a turnoff on Ingram Street and backed up into oncoming traffic on Sea World Drive. Cummins traveling west bound in his Mercury LTD ran into the rear of the SUV and had to be cut from his vehicle before being taken to UCSD Medical Center where he died around 5 a.m.. Cummins, a physicist at the Naval Warfare Systems Center for 54 years, was a dedicated employee. His supervisor Alan Lockwood was quoted as saying “He had kind of a southern charm. He would tell the ladies ‘I love you’ and ‘I love you, sweetheart’… that kind of thing and they would just smile at him.” Lockwood said Cummins was always upbeat and did not have the personality of a typical scientist. He was also dedicated to his work. “I asked him one time, ‘Why don’t you retire?’ And he said, ‘Well, this is my life,’” said Lockwood. “He said as long as he could walk across the street from the parking lot he would keep coming every day.”. Cummins was known to be somewhat eccentric and would often sleep in his car. Kevin, his grandson, said “Nobody could ever put a finger on why he was that way, but – I don’t know – he was just different than everyone else.” Kevin said “Gramps” was like Leonardo DaVinci, a genius with quirks.

Our condolences to the Cummins family and friends.

Applicable California Law

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pedestrian-accidentSan Diego Union Tribune Pauline Repard reported that 71-year-old Jan Chizer-Williams of San Diego lost control of her PT Cruiser, struck, and fatally injured a woman and seriously injured her boyfriend and son on June 3, 2011. The auto accident occurred on University Avenue and Euclid Avenue in City Heights while the three victims were waiting at a bus bench. According to police investigator, officer Dan Wall, the driver suffered a severe low-blood sugar diabetic episode causing her to loose control of her vehicle, jump the curb, heading straight for the bus bench striking the victims and running into a building. Police and paramedics responded, Wall reported that the 10 year-old-boy was knocked unconscious, suffered a broken arm, multiple cuts and was transported to Rady hospital. His 25-year-old mother was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital where she later died. Her 28-year-old boyfriend was taken to UCSD Medical Center with multiple fractures to his leg and feet.

Our sympathy goes out to the boy, his family and friends of the deceased.

Applicable California Law

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wallis_t593SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE Elizabeth Aguilera reported that Izaiah Wallis of Vista was released from Rady Children’s Hospital on May 17, 2011 after being hospitalized for seven months. Izaiah and his grandfather were on there way to a park in Oceanside when they were struck by a 17-year-old drunk driver on October 18, 2010. The toddler was thrown from his stroller and was left paralyzed and partially blind as a result of a brain injury when his head was severed from his spine. His parents were quoted as saying, “It’s going to be a bumpy road, but with all the help and support we can get through this,” said Jacob Wallis, Izaiah’s father. “It’s like bringing a newborn baby home for the first time. Lucy and I have waiting for this day to come,” said Wallis, referring to his fiancé, who is also Izaiah’s mother. The driver who hit them was sentenced to 480 days in custody.

Applicable California Law

The teenage driver was convicted of driving under the influence resulting in bodily injury (see my prior Blog post on California DUI Law). Furthermore, Izaiah and his grandfather will have claims for personal injury. However, there is a question as to the amount of insurance or other assets of the responsible parties to adequately compensate the victims, which is usually the case in accidents involving catastrophic injuries(see my prior Blog post on UM/UIM Coverage). Given the catastrophic nature of Izaiah’s injuries and the cost of future care it is doubtful that the defendants have adequate assets. California has various assistance programs, such as the fund for victims of violent crimes. Fortunately, San Diego has exceptional facilities to help brain injury victims such as Brain Tek Institute and the rehabilitation center at Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas (see my prior Blog post on Traumatic Brain Injury).