Avoiding Accidents With Motorcycles
It seems like we’re always hearing about someone being severely injured or killed due to a motorcycle crash. In fact, the number of motorcycle fatalities has been on the rise since the late 1990s as more and more people are choosing this mode of transportation. Approximately 5,000 motorcyclist deaths were reported in 2017 alone, which is more than twice the number that was reported just 20 years ago.
Motorcycles are more compact than other vehicles, so it’s essential to look out for them on the road. As a driver, you have a responsibility to be aware of other drivers to prevent unnecessary accidents. Here are some things to keep in mind to reduce the likelihood of a crash with a motorcycle.
Give Motorcyclists Space
Motorcyclists face more obstacles than other drivers on the road. While your car can handle something minor like a pothole with ease, it can cause a major problem for a motorcyclist. Thus, riders are constantly maneuvering to account for changing road conditions. You should drive more carefully around motorcyclists, assume that they can change position at any time, and signal when changing lanes so they have plenty of time to adjust.
Drivers often treat motorcycles like any other automobile, which can have grave consequences. When you’re following behind a motorcyclist, you should give them more space than you would a normal vehicle. Following too closely, or tailgating, is one of the top contributors to auto accidents, and it can be especially deadly for a motorcyclist, who won’t have the protection of a vehicle in the event of a rear-end collision.
Lane-Splitting Is Legal
Lane splitting is not strictly prohibited in California like it is in some other states. Effective January 1, 2017, Section 21658.1was added to the California Vehicle Code to define “lane splitting” and states that it is up to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to create educational guidelines for motorcycle safety. While you may encounter two or more motorcycles following each other, they can at any time decide to split lanes, so you should be aware of these changes and prepare for them by giving the riders enough space. If you were to change lanes and not notice the rider who decided to split the lane, you could be held liable if you hit them.
Use Caution Making Left-Hand Turns
Often, left-turn lanes are directly parallel to the through lanes at an intersection, making them especially dangerous for motorcyclists. When turning left, your line of sight may be blocked by vehicles in the opposite left-turn lane, so you might not be able to easily see drivers coming from the opposite direction. Since motorcycles are harder to see on the road, it is crucial to exercise extreme caution when you’re making these turns. First, you should look for cars and then look for motorcycles that might be driving in the opposite direction. Only turn left when you feel certain that the path is clear of traffic.
What to Do If You Are Involved in an Accident
Sometimes, accidents are unpreventable no matter how many precautions you take. If you do experience a collision with a motorcycle on the road, here’s what you should do.
- Assess your injuries immediately.An accident can cause a variety of injuries, including:
- Internal bleeding
- Head trauma
- Broken or fractured bones
- Spinal injuries
You should take note of any injuries you have before leaving your vehicle. Then, if you’re able to, check on the motorcycle driver. They may have been thrown from their vehicle, so look around for them in the immediate area. If they have been hurt, avoid moving them and call for emergency medical assistance right away.
- Call the police. Officers won’t always respond to a traffic accident, but if they do, they will want to prepare a written report of what happened. Without admitting fault on your part, you should give them the details of the accident. Ask any witnesses to provide a statement as well. These first-hand accounts at the scene can prove invaluable should you need to seek a personal injury claim.
- Get medical assistance.Even if you don’t appear that hurt by the accident, you shouldn’t delay getting medical help after you leave the scene. There may be issues you don’t know about yet, such as internal bleeding or organ trauma. These types of injuries might not present symptoms until hours after the accident, so you should get a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Make sure to ask for a copy of all medical tests performed on you as well as any bills you incurred as a result.
- Call a lawyer.Getting immediate legal representation is essential when you have been injured in a motorcycle accident and you believe the other driver was at fault. A Bakersfield lawyer can review all aspects of your case to determine liability and work to get you sufficient compensation. Depending on the specific circumstances related to your situation, you may be able to obtain compensation for:
- Medical assistance, including ER visits and rehabilitative care
- Pain and suffering related to the accident
- Lost wages and future lost income
- Property damage
- Other losses you incur as a result of the incident
Your lawyer will need all of the information related to your case, including copies of any police reports, witness statements, and medical exams and treatments. Include all bills you get as a result of that medical care as well as any bills associated with repairing your vehicle. This information will help strengthen your case in an effort to get you the maximum amount of compensation that you’re entitled to.
In the event of a motorcycle accident, only a Bakersfield lawyer will be able to tell you if you are eligible to seek compensation from the other driver and their insurance company. At the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones, we work hard to get each of our clients the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
6 Reasons Why You Need a Living Trust
A living trust is an important tool that shouldn’t be overlooked in the estate planning process. It is a written legal document that is created by someone during their lifetime. This enforceable document is used to spell out their wishes regarding any property, financial assets, and beneficiaries. People often create these trusts to avoid the costs and delays related to the probate process that is involved in the execution of a will.
There are two types of living trusts: revocable and irrevocable. A revocable trust can be terminated or changed at any time up to your death. At that point, it becomes irrevocable, and the successor trustee must administer the estate as outlined. However, an irrevocable trust can’t be amended once it has been signed and finalized. Most people select a revocable trust for their estate.
Here are the top reasons why you need a living trust:
- Distributes Assets Quickly
When you set up a living trust, your assets, such as bank accounts, property, stocks and bond accounts, are transferred to the trust during your lifetime. This means that you can avoid the probate process that is associated with the distribution of assets according to a will. While you’re alive, unless you are otherwise incapacitated, you will typically be the designated trustee and have control over your own financial matters. After you pass on, the successor trusteewho you have named will handle the trust for you. This person may be your spouse, close friend, grown child, or even a lawyer. Since they won’t have to go through the probate process with a living trust, the trustee can distribute assets among your heirs much faster after paying off creditors and any other final bills of the estate.
- Provides for Minor Children
As a parent with minor children, it can be difficult to imagine them being able to handle large sums of money in a responsible manner. This is where a trust can prove to be invaluable for you. It can be used to hold the money you have set aside for your children until they are mature enough to make good financial decisions themselves. The trustee would disperse it as needed for their schooling, living expenses, and other incidentals until your children have reached the age you have specified in your trust document. In that event, the trust would then end, and all inherited property and other financial assets would be turned over to them to manage on their own.
- Saves on Estate Taxes
If you are married, a living trust can greatly reduce or even eliminate your estate taxes. In 2019, the estate and gift tax exemptionrose to 11.4 million per person. That means that a married couple can leave up to 22.8 million to their heirs without having to pay the federal estate or gift tax. This can result in significant savings for those who have a substantial estate.
- Keeps Your Wishes Private
A revocable living trust is a private document, so you won’t have to worry about someone accessing the specific details of your estate. Unlike a will, it does not get filed with the probate court, so no one will be able to look at it without the permission of the trustee. A will, on the other hand, is a public record that can give information about your estate. Once it is admitted to probate, anyone can look at the estate file to find out who the beneficiaries are as well as the list of assets. Unscrupulous people might go through this information to try to prey on the heirs of the estate. For some, privacy is paramount, so they choose to create a living trust in order to protect themselves and their beneficiaries.
- Protects You During Your Lifetime
If you have a trust in place and you somehow later become incapacitated, meaning you are no longer able to make decisions yourself, the trust will ensure that you are provided for until the time of your death. Your successor trustee will act on your behalf while you’re alive. They will be able to take full financial control of the trust, from paying the bills to selling the assets, as long as their actions don’t conflict with the instructions that you have outlined in the trust document. This is why it is so important to choose someone who you trust with the task of overseeing your trust.
Do You Need a Will Too?
In many cases, it is necessary for people to create a will along with a living trust. Many create what is known as a “pour-over will.”You may have created your living trust but have since gained more property or other assets in your name. This type of will ensures that anything you own goes into the trust upon the event of your death. It will, however, have to go through the probate process since it was not added to the trust beforehand. You must also utilize a will if you want to designate a guardian for your children if you happen to die before they turn 18 years of age. This cannot be done with a living trust.
Are you ready to get started on your living trust in Bakersfield? The Law Office of Kyle W. Jones can assist you with every step of the estate planning process. The first 25 to email in from our blog post gets a no-charge Estate Plan Consultation.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA), rear-end collisions contribute to almost 30 percent of all automobile accidents, making them the most common type of collision on U.S. roads. These accidents happen when a motor vehicle crashes into the rear of the vehicle in front of it, which often has a domino effect that results in multiple cars being hit.
In California, the rear driver is usually (but not always) found at fault for these types of accidents. The driver in front often has little to no warning that the crash is going to occur, so they are unable to avoid the hit in time. If you have been rear-ended in an accident that has left you injured, it’s important to speak to a Bakersfield lawyer right away in order to protect your rights.
Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end accidents often happen because a driver is following too closely to another driver, also known as tailgating. Tailgating is very dangerous because traffic can slow down or stop abruptly, and the rear driver won’t have enough time to react to avoid crashing into the car in front of them. Other causes of rear-end accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Speeding and making sudden stops
- Inclement weather conditions
- Driving while under the influence
- Poor road maintenance
- Worn-out tires or brakes
- Faulty tail lights
Some of these situations indicate the negligence of the rear driver. In that case, a lawyer can help you explore your legal options. At the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones, we can review your case to determine whether you should pursue compensation from the other driver. By proving you were driving in a reasonable manner and had no opportunity to prevent the collision yourself, we will work to establish the other driver’s liability in order to maximize your settlement.
Types of Injuries Caused by Rear-End Collisions
The National Transportation Safety Boardreported that there were more than 1.7 million rear-end crashes in 2012 alone with more than 500,000 people being reported as injured. Whiplash is the most common injury among auto accident victims. Whiplash occurs when a high impact causes a person’s head to move backward and then forward suddenly, stretching the individual’s neck beyond its normal range of motion, resulting in an injury.
Other injuries that can be caused by a rear-end crash include:
- Fractured or broken bones
- Bruises, cuts, or burns
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Facial disfigurement
- Herniated or slipped neck disc
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
Some of these injuries may not be present at the time of the crash. Symptoms can often appear days later, so you should get medical treatment immediately to rule out any injuries. Seeking medical assistance promptly after an accident will also help your case should you decide to pursue a personal injury claim against the other driver.
What to Do Next
The first thing you should do after an auto accident is to move your vehicle to the side of the road if possible. Then, assess your injuries and check on the other driver if you’re able. If needed, call 911 for urgent medical assistance.
After a rear-end accident, it’s crucial to gather as much evidence as possible. If the police did not arrive at the scene, call them to get instructions for filing a report of the incident. Look for any eyewitnesses and ask them to write down what they saw happen.
Most importantly, do not admit fault to the other driver. Ideally, you will want to speak to a Bakersfield lawyer before making any type of official statement to the police or to the other driver’s insurance company.
Seek Compensation for Your Injuries
An auto accident can have a substantial impact on your life. Not only can it leave you with injuries and high medical bills, but it can also result in you being unable to work as you recover. Depending on the circumstances, you may also need to pay for car repairs. As the victim of a rear-end collision, you may be able to obtain compensation to cover these costs.
A Bakersfield lawyer can inform you of your legal options. Successful claims may achieve compensation for:
- Vehicle damages
- ER bills and follow-up care
- Physical therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages and future lost income
All drivers in California are required to follow a legal principle known as “duty of care.”This means that drivers should act reasonably on the road, which involves keeping a safe distance from other vehicles and following all traffic laws. If your lawyer can prove the rear driver did not follow this standard and acted recklessly, you may be entitled to compensation.
Get Legal Assistance in Bakersfield
If you’ve been injured, the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones will work hard to reach a reasonable agreement with the party responsible. Depending on your case, we may:
- Investigate the incident
Our office will determine what caused your accident and figure out who is at fault. We do this through eye witnesses, police reports, and other pieces of evidence.
- Document the details
It’s crucial to document your injuries through medical records if you’re to prove you were injured as a result of the other driver’s negligence. Keep all receipts for medical payments to give to your lawyer.
- Handle paperwork
Preparing the claim paperwork accurately is essential as incomplete paperwork can delay or reduce your claim. We can take care of the paperwork for you throughout the process.
- Negotiate with the other party
Our office will work with the other driver and/or their insurance company to prove you’ve been negatively impacted by the incident. We’ll attempt to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. In the unlikely event that we’re unsuccessful, our firm will represent you in court to seek compensatory damages.
Contact Us Today
Hurt in a rear-end collision? Don’t delay getting legal representation. At the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones, we’ll work hard on your behalf to achieve the maximum settlement you’re entitled to. Contact us to schedule your free initial consultation.
Slip-and-Fall Accident? Here’s What to Do
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), one out of five falls in the United States result in a serious injury. Older adults are especially at risk—in fact, injuries related to falls account for approximately 3 million hospital visits among seniors every single year. In 2015 alone, fall injuries totaled more than $50 billion in medical costs. If you’ve slipped and fallen due to a dangerous condition on another person’s or company’s property, you should know that the owner may be liable for your injuries. It’s essential that you speak with a personal injury lawyer in Bakersfield right away in order to protect your rights.
Slip-and-fall accidents can be serious occurrences that result in:
- Broken bones
- Hip fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Bleeding, bruising, and cuts
Property owners must comply with a legal obligation that is referred to as duty of care. This means that they are required to keep their premises safe for people who are using a “reasonable” amount of watchfulness, or caution, on the property. If the owner knew about an unsafe condition on their property but has not taken measures to address it, they could be considered negligent by the court. There are certain situations where you could have justification to pursue a lawsuit for your injuries.
If your trip and fall was the result of any of the following, you should reach out to a Bakersfield lawyer for advice:
- Poor lighting conditions
- Uneven or slippery flooring
- Potholes or substantial debris on the property
- Extremely damaged sidewalks
- Other dangerous conditions
A qualified personal injury lawyer has the experience and knowledge needed to inform you of your rights and advise you on what your next steps should be. Working with a lawyer early on will help to ensure that you take the appropriate measures to maximize any potential compensation that you might be owed for the incident.
Report the Accident
The first thing you need to do is inform the property owner or manager about the accident. If you’re unable to get up due to the extent of your injury, ask another customer or passersby to do so, or you can call 911 for assistance. To protect their liability, the property owner may ask you to write up an official statement of the incident. However, you should exercise extreme caution here and inform the parties involved that you will write the statement after you speak to a lawyer.
Collect On-Site Evidence
To win a personal injury case, the most important thing you will need is strong evidence that the property owner knowingly created an unsafe environment for you. Per duty of care, you’ll also have to show that you were using a reasonable amount of care to avoid getting hurt in the first place. While you are on the property, make sure to take plenty of photos of the hazardous conditions that caused your slip and fall. First-hand accounts can also help to strengthen your case, so if there were any witnesses to your incident, you should have them write down exactly what they saw happen before they leave. Be sure to gather their contact information as well as the contact information of the property owner so that you can give it to your lawyer when the time comes.
Don’t Delay Getting Medical Assistance
Even if you didn’t obtain an obvious injury like a broken or fractured bone, it is crucial to seek medical help immediately following a slip-and-fall accident. You might first believe that you’re fine, but it is very common for slip-and-fall victims to feel much worse the days following the accident. You might have internal medical issues that need to be addressed, but those symptoms might not present until hours or even days after the initial incident.
Holding off on getting medical care can negatively impact the outcome of your case. Have a medical professional evaluate and treat you as soon as possible and ask for a copy of their observations and all of the tests that were performed. You should also take your own photos of any obvious injuries like bleeding, cuts, bruises, and broken bones to further prove that you were harmed. Give all this documentation to your lawyer to assist with your case.
Track Any and All Expenses
You should also keep records of any expenses you incur that are related to the slip-and-fall accident. This includes any medical care you might receive such as emergency room visits, surgery, follow-ups, x-rays, physical therapy, etc. Taking time off work to fully recover? Depending on your case, you could be compensated for those lost wages. Additionally, if your injury is so severe that you have been unable to work in the same manner as you did before the incident, you may also be able to sue the property owner for your future lost income.
You may also be able to obtain compensation for any serious pain and suffering that was inflicted upon you due to the accident. The best way to know what you might be eligible to pursue is to contact a personal injury lawyer in Bakersfield.
Get Legal Help in Bakersfield
It’s in your best interest to hire a lawyer as soon as possible after a slip and fall on someone else’s property. Your lawyer can review the circumstances of your specific case, protect your rights under personal injury law, and work to get you the compensation that you deserve. Keep in mind that California has a statute of limitations—from 6 months to 2 years—on filing a personal injury case, so you need to act promptly to have a better chance at achieving a settlement for your injuries.
Should you experience a serious injury following a slip and fall, don’t delay in getting legal representation. Contact the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones in Bakersfield for a comprehensive case assessment. We’ll work hard to get you the compensation that you’re entitled to under personal injury law.