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Unlicensed Drivers Cause Two Recent California Car Accidents in One Week

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Underage drivers were responsible for two crashes in Santa Clara County, resulting in one fatality and critical injuries

San Jose, CAOn May 20, 2018, an Acura TL driven by a 16-year-old unlicensed driver jumped a curb on Highway 101, and skidded down an embankment before it was struck by another vehicle, killing a teen passenger. One week later, on Memorial Day, a stolen car driven by a 13-year-old was fleeing San Jose police when it collided with another vehicle in a head on crash, critically injuring one passenger and harming four others. California is notorious for its high rate of uninsured drivers, resulting in a large number of California car accidents. Accidents with an uninsured driver can result in the uncertainty of whether one’s injuries and property damage will be compensated, and if so, how?

Out of all fifty states, California ranks twelfth highest for its rate uninsured drivers. 15.2 percent of drivers on California’s roads are estimated to be uninsured, as measured by the rate of uninsured motorist claims compared to bodily injury claim frequencies. And according to the CDC, although teens represent only about 7 percent of the population in the United States, they account for a disproportionately high percentage of costs of motor vehicle injuries (at 11 percent, roughly $10 billion dollars every year).

In the May 20th accident, it is unclear why the Acura jumped the curb, but its driver did not have a license. A 19-year-old passenger riding in the Acura was killed, after being struck by a Toyota Camry driven by a 69-year-old San Jose man. Following the accident, a white van crashed into one of the vehicles strewn on the road, then swerved, hitting another car. The driver of the white van was intoxicated at the time. California auto accident law provides that anyone injured in a car accident caused by someone’s negligence (texting while driving, or driving while intoxicated) can recover monetary compensation for medical bills (past and future), property damage, lost wages, earning capacity, and pain and suffering.

In the Memorial Day accident, after police attempted a routine traffic stop, the suspect car packed with young teen drivers took off. San Jose police decided not to chase the car, which they had identified as stolen, in an effort to protect the public. Nevertheless, the car full of fleeing teens hit a Ford C-Max that was making a left hand turn in its path. The teen passengers attempted to flee the scene, but the 13-year-old driver was trapped in the vehicle and sustained critical injuries. These accidents occurred in the midst of a juvenile crime wave in Santa Clara County.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage in California



California auto accident law requires all drivers to be bear responsibility for property damage or bodily injury that occurs as a result of a car accident on a public road. This is usually satisfied by carrying car insurance, which is necessary to register your car with the Department of Motor Vehicles in California. But not every driver abides by this law—in California your odds of getting into an accident with an uninsured driver are more than double what they would be in New York, and four times as high as they would be in Maine.

When involved in a car accident, everyone knows to get the insurance information and contact information of the other drivers involved in the accident. But what happens if it’s a hit-and-run accident, or an accident with an uninsured or unlicensed driver? Nearly every car insurance policy sold in the state of California includes uninsured motorist coverage. This is because insurance companies are required to include this type of coverage, unless explicitly opted out of in writing by the policyholder.

What Happens If You’re Involved in a California Car Crash with an Uninsured Driver?



If you are involved in any type of car accident, seek immediate medical attention. Sometimes, injuries can take weeks or even months to manifest, so get treatment even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms. It is essential that you document your claim, and get prompt treatment to ensure a speedy recovery and avoid complications. At the time of the accident, take photos of the scene, and all the other vehicles involved. Get the contact information of other drivers and passengers involved in the accident, and also from any bystander witnesses. File a police report. It doesn’t hurt to keep a journal of your feelings and observations. Update your journal over time to document the improvement (or worsening) of your injuries, and include photos of your injuries taken every few days.

It is also important to contact an experienced California car crash lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. It is an insurance adjuster’s job to pay out as little as possible, so you need an experienced lawyer in your corner, fighting to hold the negligent parties accountable and get you the compensation you are entitled to under California auto accident law. There is also a statute of limitations for filing a claim for car accidents in California, so it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to preserve your right to file a claim.

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