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Tips for dealing with tire blowout

A passerby caught a fatal accident on video when a tire blowout caused a truck driver to lose control and flip over the highway guardrail. Tire blowouts often happen without warning and cause drivers to panic and lose control.

Here are some life-saving tips for getting through a blowout in one piece.

Prevention

The best way to deal with a blown tire is to prevent it from happening. Monitor the air pressure in your car’s tires by checking them at the gas station on a regular basis. The proper pressure for your tires is indicated in the owner’s manual. Cars manufactured later than 2007 are equipped with tire pressure monitors. Keeping your tires properly inflated not only reduces your chance of blowout but it also improves gas mileage.

Buckle up

In the event of a blowout, your car might spin, hit a guardrail or even roll over. Your chances of surviving any of these events greatly increase if you are wearing a seat belt.

Keep driving

If your tire blows, your instinct is likely to tell you to turn the wheel sharply to compensate for the sudden veering motion and slam on your brakes. Both of these are wrong. Like skidding on ice or hydroplaning, slamming on brakes after a blowout can cause you to lose control of the car completely. To maintain control of your car during a blowout, tell yourself to:

  • Keep your foot on the gas — If you keep the wheels in motion, you maintain the car’s balance and prevent it from rolling over.
  • Correct the steering — By easing the car back into line, you can continue driving straight.
  • Slow down — Gently ease the brake to slow the car toward a stop.
  • Head to the shoulder — It is safer to change the tire out of the line of traffic.
  • Engage your flashing lights — Do so after you have stopped the car, not before. Never disengage your vision from the road.
  • Use care when standing outside your car on the side of the road — Use a flashlight, flares or reflective clothing to increase your visibility while changing your tire.

The best way to avoid a tire blowout is to maintain the tires on your car. If the treads are worn, replace them. Check your spare once in a while too. If you do not know how to change a tire, it’s time to learn.

Accidents happen, and sometimes they are simply unavoidable. If you have been injured in an accident, speak to Steven P. Roberts Personal Injury Attorney about your right to compensation for your medical bills, damage to your car and your lost wages.

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4 elements of negligence in a car accident case

Building any kind of personal injury claim, including a car crash case, requires a strong legal foundation. In auto accidents, this foundation focuses on negligence and the four legal elements of it:

  1. Duty of care
  2. Breach of that duty
  3. An injury occurs
  4. The breach of duty of care caused the injury

If you can prove these elements without question, you have a strong personal injury case. These elements are worth examining in more detail.

Duty: Every driver must exercise reasonable care toward the other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians on the road, which includes abiding by the speed limit and right-of-way laws, among others.  That is part of having a driver’s license – one must abide by the rules that govern the operation of a motor vehicle.

Breach: If a motorist acts outside the law and puts other drivers, bicyclists or pedestrians in danger, he or she has breached the duty of care implicit in driving. This means that your lawyer must show that the at-fault driver is, in fact, at fault – that he or she broke a driving law.

Injury: This breach of duty has to have also caused an injury for negligence to exist. So if a driver simply ran a red light and no one was hurt, there are no grounds for a lawsuit. An injury must be present, and often only a significant injury warrants the filing of a legal claim.

Cause: Often where the auto accident case hinges, your attorney must prove that the other driver’s breach of care caused your injury; that no other aspect of your behavior or environmental factors or preexisting conditions explain your injury.

If you’d like to learn more about whether negligence was a factor in the injury you sustained during an auto accident, speak with Steven P. Roberts, Personal Injury Attorney.

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Frequently asked california auto accident questions

An horrific accident in Newport reminds us that bad drivers are not the only hazards on the road. Five teens were killed when their car went off-road and hit a tree. Upon impact, the car split in two and caught fire. No other vehicles are believed to be involved in the crash. A veteran firefighter remarked that it was among the worst accidents he ever witnessed.

If you suffered an injury in any type of auto accident, first get immediate and complete medical attention. After you receive medical treatment, consider whether you should pursue legal avenues.

Commonly asked auto accident questions include:

How long do I have to file my case?

If your case is against another private party, you must normally file your case within two years of your accident to satisfy the statute of limitations. If you are suing a government agency, you generally have less time ― typically six months or less, depending on which agency you are suing. If you wait too long to file your case and the statute of limitation lapses, you may be permanently barred from suing.

Who can be held responsible in an auto accident?

Any party that in any way led to the accident can be held responsible. Often, but not always, the responsible party is the driver the police report indicates was responsible for the accident. Less obvious third parties like governments, vehicle manufacturers and even passengers may also be held responsible.

What if I am also responsible for my injuries?

If you believe this to be the case, only share this with your attorney, as you may be mistaken. But even if you are somewhat at fault, other parties may also be blameworthy. Under the California pure comparative negligence standard, you can obtain the percentage of damages you are eligible for, minus the percentage of the damage that was caused by you.

What types of damages am I entitled to be compensated for?

Depending on the scenario, you may be eligible for the following:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Mental and emotional suffering
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Lost salary

When someone’s negligence causes a death, the victim’s surviving family can seek compensation for funeral costs, economic losses and non-economic damages, such as loss of companionship.

Do I need a lawyer to represent me?

The vast majority of cases are settled by the parties before trial. Whether or not you intend to go to go to trial or settle your case, an experienced firm can help you immensely, particularly with the insurance companies that are looking to lower their exposure. If you have to litigate your case, a good firm can skillfully investigate the accident and fully comprehend the legal significance of every party’s behavior to determine their respective faults.

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Determining fault auto collision

Even for the most seasoned Aurora Grande traffic attorney, it can be difficult to identify exactly who is at fault in some collisions. Although it is in your best interest to seek competent legal representation after an auto accident, even if you think you are at fault, there are a few quick tips to help identify fault in most crashes:

1) Traffic violations can make all the difference. No matter what directly caused the accident, if one driver violated a traffic law leading up to or immediately before the accident, that driver will typically be considered at fault.

2) Rear-end collisions and left-hand turns are common indicators. In many instances, drivers who were taking a left-hand turn are found at fault for collisions, as is the case with vehicles that strike other drivers from the rear. If you rear-end another driver, the blame is most likely to be placed on you.

3) What you say after the accident can come back to haunt you. It’s common for drivers to apologize after an accident. Phrases like, “I didn’t see you there,” or “I’m sorry for that,” may be used in court to establish fault. If you get into an accident, the best thing you can do is keep your mouth shut.

4) Witnesses can make or break your case. Directly following an accident, you should gather the contact information of anyone who can help establish exactly what happened. An eyewitness account can go a long way to proving the fault of the other driver.

If you’re in an accident on a California road, keep these tips in mind. Then, be sure to speak with an experienced auto accident attorney.

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Three Common Obstacles to Getting the Compensation You Deserve

We’ve all heard stories about insurance companies going to great lengths to avoid paying the full amount they should on insurance claims. Often, this occurs when an insurance company refuses to honor a claim or fails to offer adequate coverage for extensive damage. While you might think this happens only in extraordinary cases, the unfortunate truth is that it is simply how many insurance companies operate.

If you have been involved in a collision in Santa Barbara County, there are three common ways insurance companies may try to shortchange you:

1) Underestimating the value of a totaled car. If an insurer declares that your car has been totaled as the result of an accident, it is important to second-guess the initial valuation of your vehicle. Often, insurers do not get their information about how much a car is worth from the same sources as the rest of us. Instead, they usually use claims servicing companies, which often undervalue vehicles to the insurance company’s benefit. To get a more accurate estimation of what your car is worth, look it up on a site like Edmunds.com or AutoTrader.com.

2) Totaling a car is an easy way out of paying for repairs. If your car has sustained relatively minor damage from an accident, you may be surprised when a claims adjuster declares the vehicle completely totaled. This is typically a cost-saving measure. Often, a minor collision will result in damage to just a few parts, but they can be very expensive parts that the insurer won’t want to replace. If you want to make sure your car has been totaled for the right reasons, consult with your own appraiser to determine if repairs can and should be made.

3) Auto shops frequently work for insurance companies. Because most insurers insist that their preferred auto shops handle repairs, it’s very important to speak with an impartial inspector to ensure that all repairs were done correctly. You can use this inspection to hold the insurance company accountable for any work that isn’t up to reasonable standards.

If you’d like to learn more about what you should do after an auto accident in California, speak with Steven P. Roberts, Personal Injury Attorney.

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How to drive in bad weather

Inclement weather conditions make the roads considerably less safe for drivers and passengers. While you cannot stop the rain, you can take precautions in order to drive more safely when you find yourself out on the road in hazardous weather.

Consider the following safety tips for driving in bad weather:

  • Maintain your vehicle. Your tires are especially important when driving in bad weather and rain. Make sure they are properly inflated and replace them once they become worn. Bald tires can quickly lose contact with the road and cause your vehicle to skid or hydroplane.
  • Be prepared. Check the weather before you leave the house so that you know what to expect. And be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get to where you’re going.
  • Drive slowly. Speeding in bad weather conditions drastically increases your chances of an accident. Also, you want to give yourself extra time to react, so don’t tailgate.
  • Minimize your risk of hydroplaning. If you are driving in the rain and begin to lose traction, stay calm and ease your foot off the gas as you gently steer until you can feel the road again. Do not slam on your breaks or jerk the wheel if you are hydroplaning, as this can cause your car to skid and lose complete control.
  • Use caution. If the conditions look really bad, use your best judgment. Don’t drive unless you absolutely have to.

If you are involved in an auto accident caused by bad weather or the actions of a negligent driver, contact Steven P. Roberts Personal Injury Lawyers. They can help you navigate the complexities of filing a claim.

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Three behaviors avoid accident

When involved in an auto accident in Aurora Grande, few people know exactly what they should do. Collisions are often chaotic, confusing messes, and the right action might not be clear to you right away. However, your behavior directly following an accident can have a significant impact on any personal injury claim you make afterward.

To get through those first few difficult moments following an accident, there are a few behaviors you should try to avoid:

1) Do not leave the scene. Even if the accident appears to be minor and nobody seems injured, leaving the scene of an accident is usually a crime. After a collision, you should immediately exchange insurance information with the other driver and report the incident to the police.

2) Do not forget to call 911. Often, if nobody is injured, drivers will agree to just let the insurance companies handle any damages resulting from the accident. This can be a bad idea because many drivers are either uninsured or underinsured. Filing a report with the police provides you the added assurance just in case the other driver is not being completely honest.

3) Do not let your emotions get the better of you. It can be difficult to hold back your emotions after a traumatic experience like a car accident, but flying off the handle or apologizing profusely can hurt you in the long term. The best course of action is simply to ask if the other driver is okay and keep the conversation about the accident to a minimum.

Of course, if you have been involved in an accident, you should speak with a lawyer to determine your liability and find out if you might be able to receive compensation. To learn more, contact Steven P. Roberts, Personal Injury Attorney.

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Rear end collisions left turns liability

You likely know the general rules regarding rear-end collisions and left-hand turns when driving. Typically, in rear-end collisions, the driver in the rear is at fault. For left-turn collisions, fault usually rests with the driver who was turning left. While these generalities hold true in most California cases, some recent studies have shown that these issues are not as cut-and-dried as originally thought.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta have discovered a peculiar quirk in human perception that may contribute to rear-end collisions. It turns out that humans are only capable of detecting that a vehicle ahead of them is traveling slower if the difference in speed between the vehicles is greater than eight miles per hour. So, if a vehicle ahead of you is only traveling slightly slower than you are, you have a higher likelihood of running into it.

In another interesting revelation, traffic engineers are beginning to view the common layout of intersections as the major contributing factor in left-turn collisions. More than 40 percent of all auto accidents and one-fifth of all fatal collisions occur at intersections. To better protect drivers, traffic engineers are now looking into revising the standard intersection design in favor of something much safer.

While these studies may eventually result in safer roadways, unfortunately the old rules remain in effect. Unless the other driver was in some way negligent or in violation of Paso Robles traffic laws, such as having a burned-out taillight or running a red light into an intersection, liability still rests with the person turning left or the driver in the rear.

If you’ve been in an accident and have questions about liability, speak with Steven P. Roberts, Personal Injury Attorney today.

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Car vs truck liability

In a collision involving cars or other light vehicles and professionally driven semi-trucks, you might expect liability to vary depending on the specifics of each individual case. However, recent studies by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute have shown that, in more than 81 percent of accidents between cars and trucks, the car drivers are found to be at fault. There are some interesting reasons why this turns out to be the case:

1) Truck drivers are professionals. Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road, and qualifications for receiving a trucker’s license can be rather rigorous. Thus, it makes sense that truck drivers tend to be found at fault less often than other drivers. If you do something for 10 hours a day, every day, you tend to get good at it. Compare this to the average half-hour a day commuter, and you can probably understand why car drivers are usually the ones to blame for most car and truck accidents.

2) Car drivers often fail to maintain a safe distance from trucks. Many drivers tend to maintain the same distance between their cars and other vehicles on the road, regardless of the situation. The problem is that large trucks require much more than the standard two car lengths to actually see the vehicle behind them. This means many drivers inadvertently tailgate trucks without even knowing it.

As a rule, you are not far enough behind a truck until you can clearly see its mirrors. After all, if you cannot see the mirrors, the driver obviously cannot see you.

If you have been involved in a collision with a truck in San Luis Obispo County, it’s especially important to seek legal representation to determine who is at fault. Steven P. Roberts works with individuals throughout the region and can help you after a trucking accident.