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Los Angeles California Personal Injury Law Blog

Evolving child safety seat guidelines

Parents in California should know that the state requires them to transport their children in appropriate child safety seats when in personal vehicles. This is akin to the requirement that they themselves wear seat belts as these restraints are proven to reduce deaths in automobile accidents. The use of safety seats and seat belts may also contribute to lessened injuries in accidents. The type of child safety seat to be used varies based upon a child's weight or stage of life.

As explained by Baby Center, there are a few different types of safety seats. Infants should ride in baby seats that always face the rear of the vehicle. Once they have outgrown these seats, they may transition to a toddler seat that can be positioned facing forward but features a five-point harness. There are some models that offer a hybrid of these two seats so families can make one purchase that will last them longer.

When should I seek medical treatment after a car accident?

You may have just been slowing down before a traffic bottleneck when suddenly, you feel the jolt and realize that another driver just rear-ended you. Or you were exiting an off-ramp and someone sideswiped you because you were in their blind spot. You’re thankful you weren’t injured seriously, even though your car is a wreck.

Yet, should you refuse medical treatment at the scene? And what about if tomorrow, you wake up with serious back and neck pain? What do you do then?

Teen drivers and negligent entrustment

New teen drivers are introduced to the streets of Los Angeles every day. Those responsible for them (parents or guardians) also need to understand that their inexperience can also make them a threat to others on the road. On top of that inexperience, teens have also shown themselves to be more prone to engaging in unsafe driving practices (indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that they are more likely to speed, follow other cars to closely, and drive while intoxicated than other groups of drivers). 

These factors clearly highlight the need for parents and guardians to closely monitor their teens driving activity. A failure to do so could potentially open them up to liability issues. The legal principle of negligent entrustment allows car accident victims to hold the people that entrusted vehicles to unsafe drivers responsible for the accidents that those drivers may cause. This is due to the assumption that vehicle owners should understand the driving skills (and shortcomings) of those that they loan their vehicles to. 

Distracted driving features in modern vehicles

Residents in Southern California often spend a lot of time in their vehicles, especially as public transportation in the region is not as prevalent as in other parts of the country like New York or even the Bay Area. It is logical, then, that drivers may want to make use of their time in their cars and today's smartphones make that possible. While distracted driving awareness has grown and laws have been emerging to curb this behavior, new vehicle technologies have come on the market to try and help the situation.

According to Automotive IQ, the very features intended to counteract distracted driving might actually be exacerbating it. This is because the integration of smartphones with vehicles only encourages people to make calls, send or receive text messages, program navigation systems and more - all while actively driving.

At what speeds can whiplash occur?

Not many in Los Angeles associate serious injuries with fender-benders. Indeed, most might assume that you should walk away from such an accident without any ill-effects, and that if you do choose to take legal action, you simply are trying to be vindictive. What many do not know that is that even something as seemingly simple as a rear-end collision can cause serious injuries. The most common of these is whiplash. 

Whiplash occurs when your head and neck are thrown violently forward and backward. As you are slowing down in your vehicle, your head and neck are being slowly pressed against your set, generating backward momentum. When you are hit from behind, the energy of the collision then throws you forward, reversin your upper body's momentum. Eventually, the momentum will then be stopped (either by you being restrained by your seat belt or hitting the steering wheel). When this happens, your head and neck maintain their forward momentum from a moment, and then are whipped back violently as the rest of your body stops moving forward. This can cause neck pain, numbness, headaches and dizziness. If left untreated it can develop into neck and back problems, blurred vision, sleep disturbances and depression. 

Vehicle features focus on safety, accident prevention

California residents looking to purchase their next new vehicle should learn about the many features that have come to market in the past several years that focus on improved safety and accident prevention. Many of these features are standard in some vehicles but also available as options on others. Each has the ability to help avoid a collision but certainly is no replacement for responsible decisions and actions on the part of drivers.

According to State Farm Insurance, the presence of automatic braking and forward collision warning systems is linked to a reduction in accidents per data from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The forward collision warning alerts drivers to a potential for a crash in front of them and then automatic braking system takes an active role in stopping forward motion to avert the wreck.

How do you treat a joint sprain?

A sprain is an injury to the fibers of your ligaments, soft tissues in your joints that connect your bones to one another. If you experience joint pain following a California car accident, it is important to receive a medical evaluation of your injury. A doctor can rule out a bone fracture or more serious injury and give you specific treatment instructions.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it is especially important to see a doctor for serious symptoms at the joint, such as numbness, instability, signs of infection, chronic pain or reinjury to the site of a former sprain. A severe injury to a ligament may require surgery to correct. However, most sprains resolve with a course of nonsurgical, conservative treatment. Your doctor will tell you exactly what to do, but treatment methods for a sprain usually include the following.

Road trip tips for drivers traveling long distances

Many California residents take road trips during the summer to hike upstate or do wine-tastings in Sonoma. If you’re looking to travel a long-distance within California or even across the country, you’ll save a lot of money on travel expenses.

However, it’s important to make sure the money you save doesn’t end up costing you in a car accident. To make your ride fun and safe, keep these long-distance travel tips in mind.

Aggressive driving can cause deadly accidents

There is no question that road rage can lead to deadly car accidents in California and across the country. Whether in the peak hours of traffic or during nighttime hours, it is not unusual to see motorists engaging in dangerous driving behaviors while navigating the busy roads. Drivers often get frustrated when they are late to an important meeting, work or an appointment and they are stuck behind other drivers in traffic. However, engaging in dangerous driving behaviors when involved in these situations can be deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 9,234 drivers who were involved in fatal car accidents in 2017 were speeding. This is only one of the dangerous driving behaviors shown by aggressive drivers.

The Insurance Information Institute lists several aggressive driving behaviors, including the following:

Massive crash on California interstate kills 2

Last Thursday morning, a seven-vehicle crash on Interstate 5 in Lodi, California, resulted in two deaths and closed all the northbound lanes for five hours while cleanup took place. Authorities have ruled out drugs or alcohol as a factor while continuing to investigate the accident. While there have been no official determination as to the cause, witnesses to the accident speaking in an unofficial capacity cite inattention and excess speed as possible contributing factors. 

Traffic had slowed as a result of a separate accident involving a sedan and a big rig that required law enforcement to close one lane of the interstate. A second chain-reaction crash occurred when a second semitrailer reportedly going 55 miles per hour struck several stopped cars. 

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