How to Avoid Drunk Driving Accidents on the Fourth of Julyentry-title

Photo of a Fourth of July Celebration

Drunk driving is one of the top causes of auto accidents in our country, leading to around a third of all traffic collisions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 29 people in the U.S. die every day due to impaired driving. These numbers tend to go up on holidays, especially July Fourth. Independence Day is one of the deadliest holidays when it comes to drunk driving accidents, and our Murrieta drunk driving accident lawyers want to help your family prepare.

How to Defend Yourself from July Fourth Drunk Driving Accidents

Independence Day is here, which means parties, celebrations and fireworks. However, some of these celebrations include alcohol and can lead to tragedy on the road. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself from this danger.

  1. Avoid Driving Late at Night – In order to get the best view of July Fourth fireworks, many parties will last into the night. When these fireworks are over, many drivers will be hitting the road, and some may have been drinking. Choose a fireworks show that is either in the early evening or near your home to avoid these late-night drunk drivers.
  2. Buckle Up – One of the best defenses you have in the event of any traffic accident is your seatbelt. It reduces the probability of injuries and fatalities in almost every crash situation.
  3. Be Careful at Intersections – Drunk driving accidents often happen at intersections due to the slow reaction times and blurred or double vision experienced by intoxicated drivers. Be extra cautious, look both ways, yield to oncoming traffic and never assume someone will stop for a light or sign. Make sure your path is clear before you proceed.
  4. Maintain a Safe Following Distance – Putting several car lengths between you and other drivers will help you spot erratic driving and give you time to respond to it. If a drunk driver is swerving, speeding up then slowing down, or just acting strange, it’s better to have distance between you and them while also keeping an eye on them. Don’t try to pass a vehicle you suspect is being operated by an impaired driver. Instead, try to find a safe place to pull over and contact the authorities.

Our Murrieta Drunk Driving Lawyers Are Also Here to Help

These tips should help you stay safe for your July Fourth holiday, but even the best preparations can’t prevent every tragedy. If a drunk driver injures you or a family member, our attorneys are here to help. At SD Injury Attorneys, Steven Gnau works hard to help families put their lives back together. He not only has the experience to help, his clients enjoy the quality legal representation and care he provides. Call our Murrieta law firm at (951)370-1111 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.

What Are Common Critical Injuries After a Motorcycle Accident?entry-title

Photo of a Crash Scene After a Motorcycle Accident

In April, Storage Wars star Barry Weiss was in a motorcycle crash in Los Feliz that resulted in serious chest and leg trauma. A black SUV pulled into his path while he was riding with a friend. He and that friend are now on the road to recovery like many other motorcycle crash victims across our state. Just in Riverside County, 737 motorcyclists were injured in 2018 crashes according to the California Highway Patrol Statewide Integrated Tracking System (SWITRS). What does this information mean for our local motorcyclists? Our Murrieta motorcycle accident attorneys take a closer look at this issue, what it means to riders, and how we can do something about it.

What Is the Most Common Motorcycle Injury?

A report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claimed that the most common motorcycle injuries are usually inflicted on the lower extremities. NHTSA is not alone in this conclusion. The World Heath Organization (WHO) and the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) also conclude that broken legs, ankles, feet and other injuries to the legs are the most frequent injuries suffered by motorcyclists. The area of the body to suffer the second highest incidence of injury are the arms/upper extremities. However, this only tells part of the story.

Though it’s not the most common motorcycle injury, both AAAM and NHTSA pointed to head injuries as the most fatal type of motorcycle injury. Chest injuries turned out to be the second most fatal motorcycle injury. This is why many motorcycle safety organizations emphasize the use of motorcycle helmets and jackets as they try to reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities in our country.

What Do These Motorcycle Injury Statistics Mean for Riders?

Since a motorcyclist’s arms and legs are most at risk while riding, any injuries suffered in these areas could affect a rider’s mobility or ability to handle objects. If the rider’s main employment involves lifting, carrying objects or manual dexterity, a motorcycle accident could leave them unable to work.

The same could be said about injuries to the head or chest areas, but these injuries are often even more expensive to treat. Organ damage from chest and brain injuries could require extensive surgeries. Some traumatic head injuries have been known to have lasting symptoms such as light sensitivity, headaches, and even loss in cognitive function.

How Can an Attorney Help a Motorcycle Accident Injury Victim?

At SD Injury Attorneys, we take the possible results of these injuries into consideration while handling your case. We understand how these injuries affect your life and try take steps to ensure any settlement or verdict takes your injuries into account. Our Murrieta personal injury attorney, Steven Gnau, has a record of success and happy clients. So, whether you have the most common motorcycle injury or the most uncommon, we are ready to help. For more information, give us a call at (951)370-1111.

Ten Defensive Driving Tips You Should Always Practiceentry-title

Photos of Cars Stuck in Traffic

Did you know that traumatic injury is the number one cause of death in people under the age of 45? A report from CNN revealed not only that unintentional injury was the top cause of death for younger people, but that cars were responsible for most of those injuries. That means getting into the car and driving to the grocery store may be the most dangerous thing you do all day. So, how do we protect ourselves when driving our cars? Our Murrieta auto accident attorneys know some defensive driving techniques that could help.

1. Focus on Driving

The first step in learning how to become a defensive driver is learning to stay focused when you are driving. Many people don’t realize that driving is a very thought-intensive activity. You have to think about road conditions, traffic signals, traffic laws, checking mirrors and many other tasks. Talking on the phone, sending a text, eating or paying too much attention to a passenger can result in a crash.

2. Watch Out for Other Drivers

We all make mistakes, and this applies on the road as well. Don’t assume that another driver saw you signal and will let you merge into a lane. Don’t assume that another driver saw the light turn red and will stop. Be cautious, and don’t take another driver’s actions for granted.

3. Maintain a Buffer

Rear-end collisions are a common type of car accident. To help prevent this type of crash, always travel with a buffer of three seconds between you and the car ahead of you. This will allow you to react fast enough to stop your car if someone suddenly slams on their brakes.

4. Be Predictable

When you are driving, you want other drivers to be able to tell what you are going to do. That means moving at a steady pace, avoiding sudden increases and decreases in speed, no unexpected lane changes and using your turn signals.

5. Practice Situational Awareness

Are you using your mirrors and checking your blind spots? How far are you looking ahead of where you are driving? Using your mirrors and looking ahead will help you recognize potential dangers before they get to you.

6. Plan an Escape Route

Always plan two paths to get out of harm’s way while you are driving. If you need to pass a commercial truck, do you have enough room to get out of the way if the truck comes into your lane? If a car suddenly stops in front of you, could you steer into the courtesy lane instead of stopping? Have a backup route planned in your head in case traffic conditions become dangerous.

7. Be Willing to Yield

One of the best ways to ensure your driving safety is to be willing to give up your right of way. If you have the right of way through an intersection, but the cross traffic is not yielding, don’t keep going. It may slow you down a bit, but it will help you avoid crashing. Also, if you are confused about who has the right of way, err on the side of caution and let the other vehicle go.

8. Mind the Speed Limit

A good defensive driver should always pay attention to the speed limit and avoid exceeding it. The faster you drive, the harder it is to maintain full control of your vehicle. Your car will also sustain more damage the faster it is going when a collision occurs. So, slow down and get home safely.

9. Do Not Drive Under the Influence

Law enforcement strives to remind drivers to never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, did you realize that even over-the-counter or prescription drugs can affect your driving? Before you get behind the wheel, honestly assess your ability to drive. If you have any doubts, do not drive.

10. Use Your Seatbelt

Utilizing the safety features of your car is a great way to drive defensively. Automatic braking and collision detectors are awesome devices to help you avoid collisions, and they come on many modern vehicles. However, there is one simple, effective device that comes equipped in every car—a seatbelt. This simple belt saves thousands of lives every year. So, please buckle up.

There are even more ways to help ensure your safety while driving on the roadways of California. To learn more, keep following our Murrieta auto accident attorneys on Twitter and Facebook. You can also catch more tips on our Murrieta personal injury blog.

Could a Kia Auto Defect Lead to Catastrophic Injuries?entry-title

Photo of Firefighters fighting a blaze

The Center for Auto Safety collected around 250 reports of Hyundai and Kia vehicles spontaneously catching on fire. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reportedly received over 350 complaints about fires involving these vehicles. In these cases, there was no collision and the source of the fires is suspected to be a defect in certain engines shared by these auto brands. So why hasn’t Kia or Hyundai recalled the affected vehicles?

Why Won’t Hyundai/Kia Recall Defective Engines?

As more reports pile up, executives at Kia and Hyundai (which owns 33 percent of Kia) continue to drag their feet. Hyundai claims to welcome comprehensive reviews of the non-collision fires while Kia is promising to hire investigators to look into these “thermal incidents”. Executives from the companies have even refused an invitation from the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee to testify on the subject. This raises concerns that the companies are trying to avoid liability for these fires and the costs that fixing such defects could incur. Considering that an estimated 2.9 million vehicles could be affected, a Kia and Hyundai fire recall of this magnitude could be quite costly, and it could open the company up to be held responsible for the catastrophic injuries that have already occurred.

Burn Injuries and Recovery

In car fires such as these, burn injuries often occur. Depending on the severity of these injuries, it could take months or even years to recover. Some patients may never fully recover and could be forced to deal with physical and psychological pain for the rest of their lives. Multiple surgeries as well as complications such as infections, blood clotting and scarring could result.

At least six people have been reportedly injured due to these Hyundai/Kia non-collision fires. In the case of a teenager grocery shopping in a Kia Soul for his parents, the spontaneous fire proved fatal. Drivers are even reporting being flagged down by good Samaritans, so they can escape vehicles they didn’t even know were burning. That means everyone needs to be on alert when it comes to these car fires, and this is especially true here in California.

What Other Damages Could a Car Fire Cause?

In the past few years, our state has been plagued by wildfires. Though public utilities have gotten the blame for many of these blazes, not all of them were the result of negligently maintained powerlines. The Carr Fire was reportedly sparked by a car with a flat tire, and Fiat Chrysler was blamed for a 2013 fire that happened only a few counties away from Murrieta and Temecula. If one of these Hyundai or Kia vehicles ignite in our area, could thousands of people be affected?

How Can an Attorney Help After a Non-Collision Fire?

In the event of a spontaneous Hyundai or Kia fire, calling an attorney experienced in handling catastrophic injury cases is critical. Our attorney, Steven Gnau, is a trusted attorney who has helped injury victims throughout Temecula, Murrieta and beyond. Call (951) 370-1111 to schedule a free consultation about your injury today. For updates on the progress of a Kia or Hyundai fire recall, keep following our blog and Facebook.

How Are Schools Responsible for Keeping Their Students Safe?entry-title

Photo of a Swimming Pool Rail

While participating in a school swimming lesson, a 15-year-old student slipped beneath the water and drowned. No one in the class noticed at first. It wasn’t until after the class had been released that the boy was found. Could the school be responsible for this accident? What makes schools responsible for the injuries and deaths of children under their care? Today, we will take a look at the California laws meant to hold our state’s educational institutions responsible for student safety.

Are Schools Responsible for Student Safety?

When it comes to accidents that happen at government agencies such as schools, these institutions are protected from liability. This protection is often provided by sovereign immunity, but there are certain exceptions to this law. The California Tort Claims Act (CTCA) says that in cases of gross negligence and appropriate insurance coverage, schools can be held responsible for accidents. It even exposes schools to liability for failing to carry out a duty imposed by the law. This means that the circumstances of an accident play a big part in whether a school will be held responsible.

In the incident above, a teacher was supervising the swimming lesson from a diving board when the boy lost his life. Video surveillance revealed that the teacher may have been distracted by his cellphone when the boy became distressed. The teacher later neglected taking roll, and he missed the boy’s clothes still sitting beside the pool. If a court finds that these actions were negligent, then the school could be held liable for the boy’s passing.

How Do I Determine if a School’s Actions Were Negligent?

When it comes to the injury or death of any member of your family, consulting an attorney is a sound strategy. An attorney’s experience and knowledge of the law may help families determine if they have a claim against a school or another institution. Our attorney, Steve Gnau, offers free consultations to families who need help after an accident. Call today at (951) 370-1111 for the help your family deserves.