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San Jose burn injury attorneyIn a severe car crash or workplace accident, it is possible for a victim to suffer a variety of catastrophic injuries. Many of these injuries, including brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and broken bones, are caused by a forceful impact, such as in a collision or a fall. However, burns are another common form of catastrophic injury, and they tend to have a different set of causes. If you suffer burn injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you should be aware of the compensation to which you may be entitled.

Common Causes of Burn Injuries

When a vehicle accident results in burn injuries, it is often because fuel, oil, or another flammable substance leaks and ignites, causing a fire or even an explosion. A person who is caught in the flames or trapped in a burning vehicle can suffer severe injuries, including third-degree burns that penetrate to the deepest layer of skin. Burn injuries are also possible in a truck accident when the truck is carrying flammable cargo or dangerous chemicals.

Burn injuries are also common on construction sites due to fires and explosions, electrical hazards, malfunctioning equipment, chemical exposure, and burst pipes carrying hot water, among other causes. When a construction site burn injury is the fault of a negligent third party, the injured worker has the right to pursue a personal injury claim.

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San Jose CA pedestrian accident lawyerAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), pedestrian fatalities from car accidents have recently reached a 30-year high. California is responsible for more pedestrian deaths than any other state, with almost 900 in 2018 alone. In part, this is due to the state’s large population, but California also has a higher rate of pedestrian fatalities than many other states, with pedestrians accounting for almost 25 percent of all traffic deaths. In light of these shocking statistics, you may be wondering why pedestrian accidents are so common, and what you can do to avoid becoming a victim.

Factors That Lead to Pedestrian Accidents

One likely reason for the prevalence of pedestrian accidents in California is the presence of several major cities. The NHTSA reports that 80 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents happen in urban areas, and California is home to four of the 15 largest U.S. cities by population, including San Jose and San Francisco. If you are walking in an urban area in California, you should take extra care to stay aware of your surroundings and avoid putting yourself at risk.

Other common contributing factors in pedestrian accidents include low visibility during dark hours, distraction and alcohol intoxication on the part of both drivers and pedestrians, speeding, and improper use of sidewalks and crosswalks. To reduce the risk of accidents, the NHTSA and the California Office of Traffic Safety advise pedestrians to use lights, reflectors, and bright clothing; obey traffic signals and use crosswalks when crossing the street; and avoid walking near the road when they are drunk or using their cell phones.

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San Jose personal injury attorney Auto accidents happen so quickly and are so traumatizing that a person’s adrenaline can mask the symptoms of an injury. Unfortunately, some of those injuries may be severe. In some cases, they may even be life-threatening. With that in mind, it is recommended that every accident victim know the most commonly experienced delayed injury symptoms. Learn more about them, and discover where you can find assistance with your claim, with help from the following information.

Head and Brain Injuries

Of all the types of injuries a victim can sustain during an accident, those involving the head are among the most common. They are also one of the easiest to miss. Victims may not be aware of hitting their head, may lose consciousness, and often lack any open wounds. Furthermore, it does not take an actual blow to the head to sustain a head injury; all that is needed is enough of a force to jar or shake the brain inside the skull. If you experience persistent headaches; changes in mood, personality, or physical function; or feel dizzy or lose consciousness, seek immediate medical help. You may have a head or brain injury.

Whiplash and Other Soft Tissue Injuries

Whiplash occurs when a sudden movement of the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and upper back area become torn, inflamed, or otherwise injured. The same can happen with other muscle groups, such as the lower back or arms. If you experience persistent pain, numbness or tingling in your extremities, headaches, or pinching in your neck or upper back, contact a healthcare professional for an appointment. Though not necessarily an emergency, lack of treatment for whiplash and other soft tissue injuries can leave victims with severe and long-lasting problems.

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San Jose car accident attorneyAccording to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2 and 3 million Americans experience an auto accident injury that requires emergency medical attention each year. Overall, that same care is expected to cost victims some $18 billion throughout the course of their lives. Those accidents also cost victims about $33 billion in lifetime employment earnings.

While not all accidents can be prevented, there are ways that victims can mitigate their risks. This is especially true when it comes to reducing the risk of serious injury—and it all starts with choosing the right vehicle for you and/or your family.

Using Safety Ratings to Choose Your Vehicle

Safety ratings come from all kinds of sources, but not all are unbiased or reliable. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tests and rates cars, but the agency only sets mandatory standards. In contrast, the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a non-government agency. They are actually funded mostly by insurance companies, so they have a good reason to keep drivers safe behind the wheel.

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San Jose personal injury attorneyBy now, you have probably already heard about the dangers of texting while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, AT&T, AAA, nonprofits, and other organizations have spent millions of dollars on campaigns to stop texting and driving. However, there are many other ways that drivers become dangerously distracted on the road.

Children Can Be More Distracting Than Texting

If you have children, you probably spend a lot of time transporting them from after school activities, to friend’s houses, or back and forth from school. According to several studies, you may be driving while distracted. One study showed that children were twelve times more distracting to a driver than texting was. Research has also shown that parents with children in the car spend, on average, three minutes and twenty-two seconds with their eyes off of the road for every sixteen minutes they are diving.

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San Jose personal injury attorneyIf you are like most people, you probably get slightly nervous driving behind an eighteen-wheel truck carrying cargo. Although it is rare, cargo and debris falling off the back of a truck is extremely dangerous. Motorists who run over cargo can spin out of control and crash, often causing other cars to be involved in the accident as well. Other times, cargo can fly out and hit the windshield or body of a vehicle, damaging it. Trucks can become unbalanced when cargo shifts inside the vehicle and topple over. In the most tragic cases, some motorists are severely injured or even die in accidents caused by shifting cargo.

Federal Law Mandates That Trucks Have Cargo Properly Secured

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the agency which regulates the U.S. trucking industry. In 2004, the agency updated it rules regarding the transportation and securing of cargo in order to reduce the number of accidents caused by cargo shifting or falling from commercial motor vehicles. Cargo must be firmly secured by structures of sufficient strength such as wedges and tiedowns. Additionally, inflatable bags or other materials should be used to fill space between pieces of cargo and the walls of the truck so that cargo cannot move around during transportation. Trucking companies who fail to take appropriate securing measures can be held liable for accidents caused by shifting cargo.

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San Jose personal injury attorneyYou have probably seen commercials for car insurance advertising the benefits of having the state minimum coverage. While bare-bones car insurance plans are often less expensive and get drivers the legally-mandated car insurance their state requires, they leave a lot to be desired. Having even a very small amount of coverage is better than not having any automotive insurance, but it may leave drivers vulnerable. Minimum coverage is often not enough protection in the event of an accident.

Cheaper Is Not Always Better

Although a cheaper option, there are many problems that can arise when a driver only has the minimum amount of car insurance. For instance, if the driver is in an accident which injures another party, he or she will probably have to pay damages. If the driver’s insurance does not pay the complete amount he or she owes, the injured party can pursue damages against him or her until the debt is paid. The costs can add up quickly. An at-fault driver can be required to liquidate his or her assets, including their car and home in order to pay the debt. In some cases, the driver’s wages may be garnished.

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San Jose personal injury attorneyAnyone who has ever been in a car accident can probably remember the feelings of confusion and uncertainty in the moments immediately following the crash. If you were the one driving, such feelings may be amplified as you replay the incident in your head, wondering what you may have done wrong and what you should do next. Your initial impulse may be to get out of your car, check on the occupants of the other car and apologize for causing the accident—even if you are not certain that the wreck was your fault. Doing so, however, may not be the best idea.

You Do Not Know What You Do Not Know

When a car accident occurs, treating any physical injuries should be the top priority. The next most important concern is to determine who was at fault for the accident. The at-fault party is likely to be liable for any and all damages—including property damage and injuries—caused by the crash. Determining fault can be very complicated, as there may be a large number of factors involved.

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San Jose car accident attorneysYou read that correctly; certain driving behaviors can actually increase your chances of being in a collision by four hundred percent. According to the California Highway Patrol, distracted driving behaviors--particularly the use of a cell phone--increases your chance of being in a car accident by 400 percent, and makes it 23 times more likely for you to be at risk for collision. Those are pretty astonishing statistics, but the fact that so many drivers continue to text and talk on their phones while driving sadly implies such driving behaviors are not taken very seriously.

Dangerous Driving Behaviors that Put You and Others in Harm’s Way

Sending one single text requires the average person 4.6 seconds of their time, and driving at 65 miles per hour and texting for a mere three seconds is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field completely blindfolded. Although using your cell phone in any way, shape, or form while behind the wheel is the most dangerous and the most commonly talked about distracted driving habit, other behaviors such as eating, interacting with other passengers, and fidgeting with the radio put you at serious risk for accident and injury as well.

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San Jose personal injury attorneyAll drivers must re-evaluate their driving abilities and skills as they age. Mental acuity and physical strength change and decline as we grow older, putting us and others we share the road with at greater risk for car accidents and injuries. Re-assessing our abilities on a continual basis over periods of time is key to knowing where we stand behind the wheel.

Tips for Prevention

It is important to constantly be alert to any physical and mental changes that may affect our ability to operate a vehicle, and more importantly, to recognize which skills we need to work on to improve our driving as we adjust to those changes. Whether you are aging yourself or you have a loved one who is growing older, here are some ways you can help prevent an accident on the roadways:

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San Jose car accident lawyerWhen it comes to shaping car accident and injury statistics on the highways, taking a proactive approach through the use of driver’s education is proven way to reduce the number of incidents and fatalities. This is especially the case in terms of youth-related accidents and injuries. Young drivers present a hazard for numerous reasons; not only are they inexperienced, they are more distracted today than ever before.

The Dangers Associated With Young Drivers

Distracted driving and driving under the influence are very real threats on the roadways, particularly where young drivers are concerned. Interacting with other young passengers, the pressure to drink or do drugs at parties or at friends’ houses and then drive, plus distractions from various devices all make it very easy for young drivers to lose focus or make poor decisions behind the wheel. This, in turn, puts everyone on the roads in danger, emphasizing the need for everyone, no matter what age or walk of life, to play a role in prevention.

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San Jose car accident lawyerThere are nearly 29 million automobiles registered throughout the state of California but despite the mandates of California Vehicle Code (CVC §16058), California currently ranks in the top five of states with the highest percentage of uninsured motorists. This is not welcome news for those traveling the coastal roadways and falling victim to experiencing a car accident with the nearly 25 percent who do not carry auto insurance. Not only can this lead to possible legal and insurance complications, but it is against California law to drive without at least the mandated minimum state insurance requirements.

In addition, an estimated one in three California drivers are either uninsured or underinsured drivers, even though California offers additional coverage to protect all drivers against damage or personal injury due to an at-fault driver with no or less than adequate insurance coverage. While, in this instance, a non-fault driver can submit his or her claim to their personal insurance carrier, often the compensation does not fully cover all liabilities.

Although it seems unfair that you as the victim would need to make a claim against your own insurance, the uninsured at-fault driver will be the one facing heavy fines, vehicle impoundment and license suspension. Most often, in these circumstances, a civil lawsuit for damages and personal injuries will be in their immediate future. As a result, this could lead to the loss of all viable assets and, sometimes, personal bankruptcy.

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Posted on in Catastrophic Injuries

catastrophic injuries, San Jose injury lawyerDepending on the severity, back and neck injuries can be considered catastrophic injuries in the medical sense, as well as the in the legal realm. Catastrophic injuries usually refer to severe, chronic injuries to the spine, spinal cord, or brain and directly affect the central nervous system. They can be caused by any number of events, with the most common being auto accidents. All too often, victims of these injuries are left with lifelong complications, long-term medical care, and the possibility of never being able to work again, not to mention waking up and going to sleep with pain every day. Catastrophic back and neck injuries are serious and, unfortunately, insurance companies tend to downplay how severe cases are.

Most Likely Causes

Anything can happen in a day, whether you leave the house or not. Accidents are named such because no one plans for such events to happen to them when they start their day. However, many victims of catastrophic injuries are enjoying very common everyday activities when their accidents occur. Catastrophic injuries may result from:

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pain and suffering, San Jose Auto Accident LawyerAfter you have been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to collect damages. While the amount of damages for your out-of-pocket medical expenses may be easy to calculate, how do you calculate the damages for your pain and suffering? What is pain and suffering under California law?

How the Law Views Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering, as a principle of law, is also sometimes referred to as general damages or non-economic damages. California law allows for you to be compensated for the physical and emotional discomfort, inconvenience, and negative effects that a physical injury has on your life.

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San Jose auto accident lawyer, documenting your claimWhen making a personal injury claim based on a car accident, you will need to have thorough documentation if you want to be fully compensated for your injuries. While your primary duty after a car accident is to listen to your doctors and get better, you should also be documenting your injuries and losses.

Medical Records

Your medical records are among the most valuable types of information to your car injury claim. While you may be able to describe in great detail where you hurt and for how long, the rules of evidence will require more detailed proof of your injuries. The main reason, of course, that it is important to see a doctor and follow up on your injuries is to make sure you recover as fully as possible, but having medical records generated that substantiate your claim is another key benefit.

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work-related car accidents, San Jose personal injury attorneyWhen are injured in a work-related accident, many people assume that a workers’ compensation claim is their only way to get compensated for their injuries. However, California law allows you to pursue a claim against someone other than your employer if the other party's negligence caused or contributed to your injuries.

Role of Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims

The workers’ compensation system was designed to help make sure workers were compensated for injuries sustained in the course of their employment and to protect employers from litigation. Under the workers’ compensation system you cannot usually sue your employer. The type of compensation you are able to collect is also limited.

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San Jose auto accident attorneyWhen money is tight, it can be tempting to look for any way possible to lower your expenses. But, when it comes to your car insurance if you try and lower your premiums by eliminating some of your coverage, you may end up costing yourself money if you get into a car accident.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal Injury Protection, or PIP coverage, as it is often called, is not required in California. If you have PIP, when you, or one of your passengers, is hurt in a car accident, your medical bills will be paid by your car insurance. PIP coverage may also pay a portion of any missed wages. It does not matter who is at fault for the accident. The PIP benefits, however, are not open ended. PIP will only pay out for a set period of time and up to a set amount of money. But, if you do not have PIP coverage it can be harder to get the medical treatment you need for your injuries.

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car accident deaths, San Jose wrongful death lawyerWhen you lose a loved one, there is nothing that can ever fully heal the broken hearts they leave behind. When a family member is killed in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence, the only thing the law can offer for the loss is monetary damages. Even though no amount of money will ever bring your loved one back, you and your family may need the money you recover from damages to cover bills and provide future economic security.

Wrongful Death Claims

When you bring a claim for damages after the death a family member it is called a wrongful death claim. In California, a wrongful death claim can be brought through the probate court or by a qualifying family member individually.

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fighting insurance company, San Jose car accident lawyerThe law requires all drivers to have insurance before getting behind the wheel. But, not all drivers follow the law. Some drivers do have insurance, but not enough to pay for all the damage they cause. In these situations, you may have to turn to your own insurance policies to get compensation.

Difference Between Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are both designed to help drivers receive the compensation they deserve for injuries when the at-fault drivers can’t properly compensate them. However, there are important differences in the way the two types of policies work.

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While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with the attorney, please call at 408-293-7777 or complete the intake form below.

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John J. Garvey, III
10 Almaden Blvd, #1220
San Jose, CA 95113
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