The statute of limitations states how much time you have to file a lawsuit if you’ve been wronged. The law requires most lawsuits to be filed within a specified time frame. Generally speaking, once the statute of limitation passes, your claim is no longer legally valid.
The length of time you have to file a lawsuit depends on which type of legal claim you’re making.
Personal Injury Claims
If you’re making a personal injury claim, you have a full 2 years from the date you were injured to file your lawsuit. However, if you did not realize you were injured right away, then you are given 1 year from the date you discovered your injury.
O'Connor, Runckel and O'Malley LLP would like to announce our 2019 law school scholarship recipient, Kristina Nakao. Kristina received her Political Science B.A., Magna Cum Laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles. Upon graduation, she worked as a Legal Assistant at a family law firm assisting in dissolution matters. Kristina is committed to serving the Asian and Pacific Islander community and is a volunteer with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. Kristina is currently a first year law student at the University of San Diego School of Law.
We look forward to seeing Kristina succeed in her upcoming years at the University of San Diego School of Law.
According to the California Highway Patrol, this powerful head-on collision resulted in “catastrophic damage.”
The California Highway Patrol has reported that two people have died so far, and five others were badly hurt in an apparent wrong-way crash that occurred in the early hours of the morning last Sunday, not far from Orinda.
Although the investigation is still in the early stages, it is suspected that the male driving a Saturn Vue was traveling east in the westbound lanes of Highway 24 between Fish Ranch Rd. and Wilder Rd. when his vehicle crashed head-on into the Toyota Camry, the CHP reported.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The family of the driver who lost his life in a Santa Clara County car crash filed a lawsuit against Tesla on Wednesday. The lawsuit claims that Tesla is beta testing autopilot technology on open roadways in California.
The man who was killed was riding in his Tesla, which was on autopilot at the time of the crash. His family is suing the car manufacturer and others for wrongful death.
The lawsuit is not only against Tesla, but it could also include subcontractors who helped design and build the autopilot system on Tesla’s Model X.
Walter Huang was killed in March 2018 when his 2017 Tesla Model X smashed into a barrier on Hwy.101 in the city of Mountain View while it was on autopilot.
His grieving wife Sevonne Huang told the press that this Tesla was her husband’s dream car.
“I gave the car to him for his birthday,” she said.
The family is convinced that the autopilot system is defective and probably the cause of Huang’s death.
Mark Fong, the family’s lawyer, said, “The car moved out of a safe lane, headed directly towards a solid concrete barrier while accelerating nearly 10 miles an hour in 3 seconds.”
Family members claim that Huang complained about the car constantly veering towards the same barrier at the very same location where the crash occurred. They also said that he took his car to the dealership a number of times to tell them about the malfunctioning autopilot.
The lawsuit is being filed on the grounds of defective product design along with intentional misrepresentation.
The company released a statement soon after the crash that said, “The driver took no evasive action even though he had a 5-second view of the divider before crashing into it.” The company went on to say, “Mr. Huang had received both visual and audible hands-on warnings earlier while driving and his hands were not on the steering wheel for a full 6 seconds before colliding into the barrier.”
Attorney Doris Cheng said, “Attempting to put the blame on Mr. Huang by suggesting that it was up to him to figure out what was wrong with his Tesla, is very unfair.”
The family also filed a lawsuit against the State of California, claiming that the highway median had no protective crash guard, which could have possibly prevented the death.
The lawsuit is for monetary damages, as yet unspecified.
Huang’s wife said, “I’m doing this so that other families don’t suffer through the same experience.”
The NTSB has not yet released the final report of its investigation into the accident. When asked, a Tesla representative declined to comment on the lawsuit.
A number of other Tesla drivers have lodged complaints and filed lawsuits against Tesla for autopilot errors.
The autopilot feature is one of Tesla’s most popular features because it is supposed to take over other functions, like steering, braking, changing lanes and speed.
Last year a Tesla driver whose car was on autopilot fell asleep while the car kept driving all on its own. Eventually CHP officers boxed the Tesla in with their cars, slowing it down until it stopped. They then arrested the driver when he couldn’t pass the field sobriety test.
Published on behalf of O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley LLP
According to the California Highway Patrol, there may be as much as a 70% increase in DUI arrests in marijuana-related traffic accidents. Last year they released 2017 stats for the CHP Golden Gate District :
For All of 2017:
DUI arrests just for using cannabis: 197
DUI arrests for both cannabis and alcohol: 183
Traffic collision causing property damage plus a DUI arrest for just cannabis use: 22
Traffic collisions causing an injury plus a DUI arrest for just cannabis use: 7
Traffic collisions causing a death and a DUI arrest for just cannabis use: 0
When alcohol is combined with cannabis, injury collisions in 2017 rose to 24 and fatal collisions were at 7
From January to mid-April of 2018:
DUI arrests just for cannabis: 87
DUI arrests for both cannabis and alcohol: 60
Traffic collision causing property damage plus a DUI arrest for just cannabis use: 9
Traffic collisions causing an injury plus a DUI arrest for just cannabis use: 7
Traffic collisions causing a death and a DUI arrest for just cannabis use: 0
When alcohol is combined with cannabis, injury collisions were at 4 and fatal collisions were at 1
The CHP began keeping track of incidents in which drivers were stopped for erratic driving and the officer detected marijuana due to drug paraphernalia being found or a passenger was stoned. In these cases there was no DUI arrest. Through April 2018 that number was 3,754.
Marijuana-related traffic accidents have been getting a lot of attention in the news these past few years since 9 states plus the District of Columbia started legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. These states include: Colorado, Washington, California, Oregon, Alaska, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada.
Controversy still surrounds the discussion on exactly what a “marijuana-related accident” is because law enforcement in these states hasn’t yet completely defined the problem. The controversy began in 2016, which was 4 years after Colorado legalized the recreational use of pot, one of two states to do so at the time. Gary Johnson, who was running for President as the Libertarian candidate said, “’Marijuana-related’ hospital visits, fatal traffic accidents and school suspensions in Colorado have ‘not gone up significantly’ since the state legalized marijuana.”
Several official sources immediately refuted that claim, showing that there had been a huge rise in those exact problems since the drug had been legalized. The issue is that there is limited data, which makes it utterly impossible to know precisely which of these incidents were caused directly by the use of marijuana. ProCon.org explained it this way, “Unlike with alcohol use, when you test positive for marijuana it does not definitively mean that you were under the influence of marijuana when the traffic accident occurred.”
In any case, marijuana use is at the forefront in a number of fatal traffic accidents in those states where the laws pertaining to marijuana use have become less stringent.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of motor vehicle negligence related to marijuana use and would like to speak with a Bay Area auto accident attorney, please contact us. At O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley we have 50 years of litigation and trial experience. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights.
If you live with stress and anxiety, you know just how great a toll both can take on your life. Worry, anxiety and other forms of emotional distress may make it difficult for you to concentrate at work, enjoy your downtime or live a generally happy existence. If another person or entity caused your mental anguish due to their negligence, you may be able to gain compensation for your suffering.
Mental Anguish as a Non-Economic Damage
More often than not, the courts will classify emotional anguish as a non-economic damage. If this is the case, the courts will likely categorize your distress as "pain and suffering." Depending on in which state you live, and the nature of your accident, you may not be able to recover for pain and suffering. If you can recover compensation for these damages, the state may cap the amount you can recover.
Emotional Suffering as a Medically Documented Illness
In extreme cases, stress is a medically-documented illness. For instance, PTSD is a medically-documented form of strain. Signs your anxiety is a medical condition and not just pain and suffering are as follows:
You cannot identify the source of your tension.
Your friends, family and advisors cannot pinpoint the cause of your anguish.
Your primary care doctor suspects the source of your strain is a symptom of a physical ailment and he or she has the means to help ease it.
Documenting Emotional Damages
Regardless of the cause of your stress, you need to document your damages to maximize the amount you may recover. Some steps you can take to strengthen your personal injury claim are as follows:
Identify the type of emotional distress you're experiencing (fear, anxiety, depression).
Keep a journal in which you discuss how you feel on a daily basis.
Keep the bottles or labels of prescription medications you use to control your emotions.
Consult with a personal injury attorney who can advise you on what more you need to do to fortify your claim based on your individual situation.
Emotional distress can be just as damaging to your life as physical injuries. If another person's actions caused you to live with emotional agony, contact a lawyer for guidance today.
Published on behalf of O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley LLP. The information presented in this article is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current and is subject to change without notice.
If you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft accident, it can be hard to understand your rights when it comes to recovering injury-related expenses. That’s because ride-sharing apps occupy a legal gray area between the personal use of automobiles and commercial taxi operations in many states.
According to NOLO, the online legal reference library that works to break down legal concepts to the general public, ride sharing accidents usually fall under the driver’s personal insurance if the driver is at fault unless the insurance policy specifically excludes ride-sharing. Otherwise, a lawsuit on your behalf to recover damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance is common.
Immediately After an Uber or Lyft Crash
If you’re in a crash, take these steps to protect your legal rights down the road so you can get the medical treatment you need and recover the costs associated with your injury.
Contact 911 if the driver has not already done so, to report the accident.
Check to see if anyone in the car is injured and report it to the dispatcher if they are.
Get the insurance information from all the drivers involved so you can be sure you have what you need once fault is determined.
Contact the rideshare company’s customer service to report to them.
The Changing Insurance Landscape
More and more insurance companies are excluding rideshare time from their personal vehicle coverage policies. If an Uber or Lyft driver’s policy excludes rideshare, they should have a ride sharing insurance policy. One of the reasons it is important to contact customer service for your rideshare company is because they are carrying insurance on the drivers’ behalf more and more. According to a firsthand account in Fortune, the company began carrying its own insurance in 2013 in response to the rising tide of rideshare exclusions on personal policies.
The car accident attorneys at the law offices of O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley provide legal expertise, strong trial skills and the essential investigation in order to successfully litigate your personal injury claims. If you have recently been in an accident and you have medical expenses or other losses associated with it, you should talk to an attorney before accepting any settlement. For a consultation with experienced attorneys, contact O’Connor, Runkel, and O’Malley LLP today.
Just as there are apps to help decrease standard automobile accidents, there are also mandates going into effect in the trucking industry in an effort to reduce truck accidents. Electronic Logging Devices keep track of how long a trucker has been on the road to better ensure she or he doesn’t sit across the table from a truck accident attorney after falling asleep at the wheel. But are the devices effective?
The Aim of the Devices
In 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimated that ELDs could prevent roughly 1,700 crashes, 500 injuries and 20 deaths a year. This is because the devices make it so truck drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours in the road without resting. As truck accident attorney I can tell you that driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of truck accidents.
Besides preventing accidents, logging devices can improve the trucking industry at large. Specifically, if truckers aren’t driving more than they should be, they’re less likely to burn themselves out. Fewer overworked truckers is likely to result in a lower employee turnover rate.
Are the Devices Reducing Salaries Along With Accidents?
For all the good they’re supposed to do, ELDs aren’t beloved by all truckers. One issue is the devices can actually make truckers drive a bit more recklessly than they normally would. This is because when drivers near their 11-hour limit and haven’t made it to their destination, some of them may speed up to get there faster.
There are still problems even when a truck driver hasn’t neared her or his destination when the 11-hour limit approaches. The issue is that not all truckers are able to find a safe place to park their vehicles when they reach their time limit.
If you were recently involved in an accident with a truck, it may have been due to reckless or fatigued driving. Either way, it’s best you reach out to a truck accident attorney to explore your rights.
O’Connor, Runckel and O’Malley LLP would like to announce our 2018 scholarship recipient, Tamar Anna Alexanian. Tamar received her bachelor's degree from Vanderbilt University in 2016 where she double majored in Women's & Gender Studies and English Literature. Upon graduation, she spent a year as an English Teaching Assistant with Fulbright Taiwan and the following year as an AmeriCorps member serving under-resourced communities in Chicago. In the fall, Tamar will be attending the University of Michigan Law School where she hopes to study international human rights.
We look forward to seeing Tamar succeed in her upcoming years at the University of Michigan Law School.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) announced that the number of pedestrians killed in the U.S. in 2017 was nearly 6,000. After two straight years of significant increases, the number of pedestrians being killed on our streets seems to be holding steady.
According to GHSA, this number is the highest it’s been in the last 25 years. Although the rise “seems to be holding,” the “ongoing problem of so many pedestrian fatalities raises concerns about the dangers facing pedestrians on our streets.”
This is even more concerning when you realize that the number of fatalities resulting from other types of traffic accidents is falling. GHSA mentioned that enhanced vehicle safety features make collisions safer for people inside vehicles – but these are not helpful to pedestrians.
There was a rise of 27% in pedestrian deaths from 2007 to 2016, but during this same time deaths from other types of traffic accidents fell by 14%, GHSA reports. The result is that pedestrian fatalities account for a higher proportion of overall traffic accident fatalities.
The GHSA report is derived from early data from state highway agencies. A total of 23 states plus Washington, D.C., showed a rise in pedestrian fatalities. During the same time period there was a decrease in 20 states while the balance remained more or less the same.
Five states – Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas – made up 43% of pedestrian deaths in the first six months of 2017. This is despite the fact that only 30% of the country’s population resides in those states.
Laurel Wamsley last year reported on NPR that a study was done by Smart Growth America revealing the most deadly cities in the U.S. for pedestrians. According to this study, eight cities out of the top 10 were in Florida. The study also revealed that the population most at risk is people of color, as she reported:
“People of color are disproportionately represented among the pedestrians being killed. Non-white individuals make up 34.9% of the U.S. population, whereas they comprise 46.1% of the country’s pedestrian fatalities.
“In some regions, this disparity is very pronounced. For example, Native Americans make up just 5% of the population of North Dakota, but this group accounts for almost 38% of pedestrian fatalities.”
The study also discovered that people with no health insurance, the poor and the elderly were more apt to reside in areas that are particularly deadly for pedestrians.
The most recent GHSA report does not categorize deaths by income, insurance or race. However, it does show that the elderly and children are “especially at risk.”
The question remains as to why pedestrian deaths have increased so much since 2014. Last year, when the GHSA report revealed an 11% increase over the previous year in pedestrian deaths, David Schaper of NPR took a close look at some of the possible causes:
“GHSA spokesperson Maureen Vogel said that there was ‘a perfect storm’ when a number of factors came together to spur the increase: There were more cars on the road due to a better economy and lower gas prices. People were just driving more, ‘but that doesn’t explain the whole story, so something else must be going on.’
“One possible explanation can be seen during downtown Chicago’s rush hour traffic if you look at all the drivers inching their way through traffic and the dozens of pedestrians crossing the street in the intersections. You can clearly see that many of the drivers and the pedestrians as well looking down at their cell phones.
“ We are totally distracted," said Melody Geraci, who is the deputy executive director of a Chicago group called, the Active Transportation Alliance, that advocates for improved public transportation, walking and cycling. ‘Speeding and not yielding are the top two causes of pedestrian deaths, but the third cause is distractions, which are usually by mobile devices."
“There is a lot of documentation attesting to the fact that drivers distracted by their mobile devices cause traffic accidents. But, there is an increase in pedestrians being distracted too, causing them to be totally unaware of all the traffic whirling around them.”
Other factors would be speeding vehicles and alcohol – not just drunk drivers, but drunk pedestrians too. The GHSA most recent report said that 33% of pedestrian deaths involved a pedestrian who had a blood alcohol count over the legal limit for driving. Yet, there are no laws against walking down the street while drunk, but obviously this is a very dangerous practice, which can kill you.
Another factor was time of day with 75% of pedestrian deaths occurring at night in the dark. In 72% of the cases, the deceased was jay walking, or crossing in the middle of the street without being in the intersection.
This latest report also indicates that marijuana use may also be a factor:
“From 2012 to 2016 there were seven states plus Washington DC, that voted to legalized the recreational use of marijuana. These states were Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, Washington and Oregon. These states reported a 16.4% rise in pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2017 vs. the first half of 2016. Interestingly, all other states had a collective 5.8% decrease in pedestrian deaths.”
However, GHSA cannot assert a “definitive association” or “direct correlation” in explaining those particular states’ much higher rates of pedestrian fatalities.
If you have a loved one that was killed in a pedestrian accident that was caused by someone else, you may be entitled to seek compensation. You need to know your legal rights and how to protect them and an experienced pedestrian accident attorney can help. The law offices of O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley has handled hundreds of clients in similar situations. Call today and speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer who will treat you with the respect and concern you deserve during this very difficult time.
Published on behalf of O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley LLP