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Who is Responsible for Accidents with Student Drivers?

Thursday, January 04, 2018

At one point, every single driver that travels the road was a learning student. They learned the rules of the road and then began to put them into practice under the instruction and supervision of a driving instructor. While an instructor's job is to make sure a student learns to drive safely, it is also part of their job to make sure they don't get into any accidents. Unfortunately, the thing about accidents is that no matter how hard you try to prevent them, they still happen. However, an accident with a student driver is tricky business. As they are not yet fully-fledged drivers and don't have insurance, does that automatically make you, the adult driver, responsible for covering the damage?

Negligence in Student Driver Accidents

If you, the adult driver, were the negligent party in an accident with the student driver, then it would work very much the same as a regular auto accident. Your insurance may be held on the hook for damages to both vehicles. However, if it can be proven that the student driver was the negligent one, then things will happen a little differently. Instead of the student being held responsible, since they have no insurance, instead the instructor will be held responsible.

If the instructor is part of a driving school, typically they have top-notch auto insurance and there is very little to worry about. However, quality of auto insurance can vary if the instructor comes as part a high school driver's education program, yet that doesn't change their liability. Similarly, if you got into an accident with a learning student while they were logging driving practice hours on their learner's permit with a parent, it will be the parent's auto insurance that will be used to cover your damages.

It is also important to remember that it is a driving instructor's job to intervene in dangerous situations to prevent accidents. In these cases, you may be able to hold the instructor as well as the driving school responsible for any injuries you sustained if they did not take enough precaution to prevent the accident. If the student was speeding or conditions on the road were not safe for driving, it is the instructor's duty to intervene in order to prevent accidents. If accidents happened as a result of that, then the instructor's skills can be called into question and the driving school can be pursued for negligent hiring practices.

However, this route should only be pursued if you were grievously injured in an accident. Otherwise, it will not result in much other than just ruining someone's life for a simple accident.

What to Do After an Accident with a Student Driver?

Actions taken after an auto accident with a student driver are actually very similar to any other auto accident. After the accident has occurred, you should:

  • Gather Information - Get the name of the student, the driving instructor, and the driving school as well as any insurance information. You may also want to gather witness statements, if possible, to verify how the accident happened and who appeared to be at fault.
  • Call the Police - It is crucial to call the police after an accident so they can create a police report. This is excellent evidence for your claim.
  • Take Photos - Be sure to snap as many photos as need be to document the damage to both vehicles, the scene of the accident, and any injuries that were the result of the accident.

Have you been in an accident with a student driver in the Los Angeles area only to find that the instructor is pushing back against covering the damage? Contact us today so the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can help you.

What to do if You are the Victim of Auto Accidents

Friday, September 09, 2016

Tragedy can strike anywhere -- even California. And all of the cities in the state are full to the brim with drivers -- commuters, taxis, buses, public servants. All of that traffic can lead to some nasty situations, including ones where you get hit by a vehicle. This is a difficult situation to handle, so here are some steps to follow in the wake of the accident, so that you can maximize your health and well-being.

What to do if you are victim of an auto accident:

The first thing to do in the wake of an automobile accident as a pedestrian is to make sure that you are not in any physical danger. If you are hurt badly, you will be taken to a nearby hospital; if the hit was not as hard, simply do an internal checkup on yourself. If you are not seriously hurt, the driver should wait for you and exchange information; if they do not, speak to other witnesses who can help provide you with identifying information. That is name, contact information and insurance information.

The next important step is to make sure you know your rights -- as a victim, you are afforded legal options that you may pursue. If the driver is liable for the accident, you may pursue legal action against them.

This legal action is important because it protects your health and wellbeing. For instance, medical bills (if you are seriously injured) can be very expensive, and this is a situation where you could be reimbursed by the driver's insurance; if the insurance company is not very forthcoming, you may take the action to civil court.

It is important to note, though, that these legal actions are complicated, and if you want to be able to make the most of them to pay for your medical bills, you will probably need to hire a lawyer. Speak with your attorney to determine liability, damages and any other pertinent information for the case.

If you are in California and experience such an accident, please contact us -- we will fight to make sure you receive just compensation for your accident.


Checklist: Steps to Take After an Auto Accident

Friday, March 11, 2016

Drivers who are in an auto accident are often unsure of what to do immediately following the crash. They are overwhelmed with emotions and find it hard to think clearly. Therefore it is wise to be aware of the steps to take if you are ever in a collision BEFORE you face the situation. Consider the following checklist of steps to take after an auto accident.

Injuries:

Check all occupants of all vehicles involved in the collision to see if anyone is injured and in need of medical attention. Call for an ambulance if needed. Keep in mind that some injuries do not show up immediately after the accident but surface hours later. Check yourself and your passengers again at a later time to verify no one is experiencing any pain or discomfort.

Record Information:

Many people know to exchange insurance information but there are more details that should be recorded immediately following the accident. Include the following:

  • Insurance information for all vehicles.
  • Contact information for all drivers and any witnesses.
  • Number of passengers and approximate age in each car.
  • Injuries that occurred.
  • Make and Model of all vehicles.
  • License plates of all vehicles
  • Weather conditions at the time of the accident.
  • Traffic level at the time of the accident.
  • Your version of what happened. Include a sketch of the accident scene.
  • Photographs of the scene of the accident and damage to the vehicles.

Don't Apologize:

Avoid apologizing to the other driver at the time of the accident. This may be taken as you admitting you caused the accident. It is best not to say anything about who was responsible at this time.

Don't Accept a Settlement:

The insurance company may want to settle the claim right away. Although this seems wonderful because you can start repairing your car and recovering from your injuries it is most likely an attempt to get you to accept less than you deserve. Keep in mind that your injuries may require a considerable amount of medical attention in the future. Contact us before you settle so we can help you determine the value of a settlement you will really need to fully recover.

If you are in a car accident in the future keep the above checklist in mind immediately following the crash. These steps will help protect you financially.

New Campaign Will Target Drowsy Driving

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Federal and California state administrations have made great strides in reducing drunk driving, and even distracted driving through the use of stronger legislation, enforcement initiatives, and awareness campaigns. However, the risks of drowsy driving have been ignored. One reason for this is that there is very limited research on these risks, and how to prevent these.

Now the federal administration has decided to spotlight the dangers of drowsy driving, and has launched a new campaign that will specifically focus on increasing public awareness about drowsy driving. It is a challenging task. For one thing, it isn't easy to measure drowsiness at the scene of an accident. It is not possible to tell whether a person was driving while sleepy at the scene.

That is in sharp contrast to a drunk driving accident, in which you can administer a test that will immediately help you determine if the person was driving under the influence of alcohol. Even when a person is in a distracted driving accident, it is possible to recover the cell phone records of the other motorist at the accident scene to determine whether texting was a factor in the crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the campaign will focus on developing strategies that will target those motorists who are especially vulnerable to the dangers of drowsy driving. For instance, senior citizens are at a higher risk of drowsy driving, because they may be under the influence of more than one medication. The agency will also look more closely at technologies like lane departure warning systems. These technologies have a great role to play in helping prevent drowsy driving. One of the first signs of drowsy driving is that your car begins to move from your lane frequently. A lane departure warning system will alert you when you are dozing off at the wheel, and when your car begins to veer off from the lane, possibly averting an accident.

For help filing a car accident claim, call a Burbank car accident attorney.

50% of Teen, Young Driver Car Accident Fatalities Linked to Pot, Alcohol

Friday, January 16, 2015

Alcohol and marijuana use seriously increase the risk of accidents involving teen and young adult drivers. According to new statistics, approximately 50% of teen and young adult motorists, who are fatally injured in car accidents, are driving under the influence of marijuana, alcohol or a combination of both.

The findings were based on an analysis of accident data in those states where it is mandated to conduct toxicology screening tests on fatal accident victims. The study found that accident victims above the age of 21 and of legally drinking age, were much more likely than younger victims to have used a combination of alcohol and marijuana, just before the accident. This seems to prove that even when people are of the legal age for drinking alcohol, it doesn't reduce their risk of engaging in destructive driving practices that include both marijuana and alcohol.

The researchers also found that more than half of the young motorists, who died in the accidents, were either high on marijuana, or drunk at the time of the accident. About 6.8% of the victims tested had alcohol in their systems at the time of the accident, while 5.9% had traces of marijuana. 7.6% had used both marijuana and alcohol before the accident.

The researchers were also looking for evidence to indicate that lowering the minimum drinking age from 21 to 18, would lead to a reduction in the use of marijuana among young adults. They found that this was not the case at all. Rather, they found that lowering the drinking age could actually lead to increased consumption of a combination of alcohol and marijuana by young drivers.

Accidents involving teen and young drivers typically tend to involve speeding and aggressive driving. If you have recently suffered injuries in an accident, speak to a Burbank car accident lawyer about filing a claim for compensation.


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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.