Archives for June 2011

Dangerous Highways – California State Route 17

San Francisco Bay Area Dangerous Roads Attorney

State route 17 is a scenic road that runs through the Santa Cruz mountains. It winds its way through Scotts Valley in the south, all the way to Los Gatos and San Jose in the north. Along the way, however, it presents drivers with a number of hazards – sharp turns, blind spots, narrow shoulders, changes in speed, and slick highway surfaces after rains or snows. A number of sections of SR 17 are notoriously dangerous, earning nicknames like “The Valley of Surprise” or “Big Moody Curve” due to the visible evidence present that so many cars have hit the median along the curves in these sections of the road.

Understanding why State Route 17 is so Dangerous

State route 17 is particularly dangerous because of the number of sharp curves, blind curves, and sudden changes in speed along the road. As a result, drivers sometimes have difficulty negotiating unexpected sharp turns and careen off the median divider along the road. Depending on the time of year, road conditions are made even more hazardous by rain, fog, and snow. As a result, when a car hits the median and spins out of control it often involves other cars resulting in multi-car serious accidents.

Caltrans and Accidents along State Route 17

Given state route 17’s reputation as a dangerous highway, it’s only natural to ask what, if anything, is being done to improve safety along the highway. While Caltrans maintains the road, there are currently no major plans to redesign the most dangerous portions of the road. This raises questions of liability in car accidents caused by road conditions along SR 17.

Depending on the circumstances of a car accident along SR 17, it may be possible to hold Caltrans liable for injuries and fatalities that occur as a result of road design, lack of water drainage, improper signage, obscured signage, lack of reflectors, or an absence of rough road signal a need to reduce speed. Even in cases where a motorist is involved in an accident caused by someone else losing control of their car, dangerous road design may be a contributing factor.

Contact Bay Area Dangerous Road Design Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

If you’ve been injured in an accident along SR 17 or along another stretch of dangerous road in the Bay Area, contact San Francisco car accident attorneys at the personal injury law office of Weber & Nierenberg. We can evaluate your case and discuss the best legal options available to you.

When Your Insurance Company Gives You the Runaround

San Francisco Bay Area Bad-Faith Insurance Attorneys

When you buy an insurance policy from an insurer, your insurer is responsible for providing coverage under the terms of the policy, acting in good faith toward you and defending you if you are sued, and the insurer must consider your interests to be equal to those of the insurer itself. When an insurer fails to pay a claim for coverage you have or takes an inordinate amount of time to pay a claim, they can be held financially liable for bad faith practices. When this happens, the financial consequences for you, the policyholder, can be significant, as unpaid medical bills and lost wages continue to create financial difficulty for you and your family.

If your insurer has rejected a personal injury claim or takes an unusually long time to pay a claim, it’s important to read the Declarations section of your policy and contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss the options available to you.

Claim Denials — When Insurers Reject a Claim

In general, an insurer may deny a claim for one or more of the following reasons:
• A “loss event” is not covered under the terms of a policy
• A claims agent incorrectly decided to deny benefits that should have been provided under the terms of your policy
• Your claim contained misleading or inaccurate information, leading a claims agent to mistakenly decide you are not covered for the losses incurred
• A claims agent failed to properly review the evidence associated with your claim, mistakenly issuing a denial as a result

Depending on the specifics of your case, a simple review of your policy may be enough to correct any mistakes on the part of your insurer in your initial filing or claims presentation. If your insurer is unwilling to revisit the issue, it may be necessary to hire a personal injury attorney who can send a demand letter and prepare for litigation.

Bad-Faith Insurance Practices — When a Claim Takes Too Long

If you have a valid claim and have submitted a properly prepared injury claim, your insurer should issue payment in a timely fashion. When an insurer fails to return calls, insists everything is in order but won’t release a check or continues to ask you to resubmit documentation, they may be stalling while their legal department decides what to do. If you hire an attorney to represent you as soon as you encounter unreasonable delays, you can often preempt further problems and resolve the issue.

In another form of bad-faith insurance practice, an insurer may offer to pay your claim but for less than what the policy indicates. An insurer may think you’ll simply take what you can get rather than risk going to court and waiting months for a claims payout. Should this happen, consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Insurance companies that engage in bad-faith practices can be held financially liable for any harm suffered as a result.

Contact San Francisco Bad-Faith Insurance Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

Policyholders have a right to expect prompt payment on losses they’re insured for. If you’ve encountered difficulties with your insurer, contact San Francisco Bay Area personal injury attorneys today to learn how we can help you.

Who’s Liable when Defective Parts Contribute to a Bike Accident?

San Francisco Concussion and Bicycle Accident Attorneys

While bicycle accidents are often the result of inattention on the part of car drivers, defective or malfunctioning bike parts can be a contributing factor as well. Problems with quick-release mechanisms, poor alloys, defective carbon fiber parts or weakened frames and forks can make bicycle accidents worse than they might otherwise have been. The issue is not unimportant since, in California, bicycle manufacturers, designers, distributors and retailers can be held liable for injuries caused by defective products. The same holds for bicycle safety helmets that fail to perform as indicated.

Retailers and Defective Products from a Bicycle Manufacturer

If a bicyclist was unable to stop in time or avoid a car headed for him or her due to an improperly assembled or manufactured bicycle, the retailer and bike maker may both be liable for some of your losses. Here, a cracked fork, brake malfunction, pedals that snap off or handle bars that aren’t secured properly can act as a contributing factor to an accident.

The Importance of Investigating a Bicycle Accident

Due to the damage suffered to most bikes in bicycle accidents, it may not be obvious at first if a defective bike part was a contributing factor to your accident. However, if you remember having difficultly stopping, if your pedal or chain snapped, or if part of your fork or frame bent unexpectedly, you may have legal grounds for holding others beside the driver who hit you financially liable for your injuries.

Bike Recalls Are More Common than People Realize

Bicycles are not immune from manufacturing and design defects. You may have had a bicycle accident made worse by an already defective bike and not realized it. In fact, in the past year there have been a number of bicycle recalls —

• October 2010: 200 bicycles with the EC90 Zero seat posts were recalled by Easton Sports.

• November 2010: 370 Model Year Anthem Giant Bicycles were recalled by Newbury Park, California-based Giant Bicycles due to risk of a frame crack.

• November 2010: 9,300 BB30 Gossamer crank sets were recalled by Full Speed Ahead due to concerns pertaining to the bolt shoulder.

• December 2010: 200 Redline D640 bicycles were recalled by Seattle Bike Supply due to concerns regarding the head tube and frame.

• January 2011: 6,500 Salsa Handlebar Stems were recalled by Salsa Cycles due to concerns regarding cracking and breaking.

• February 2011: 160 Novara Fusion bicycles were recalled by REI due to concerns regarding the alloy steerer tube.

• February 2011: 1,550 Felt Adult bicycles link to www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11139.html were recalled due to concerns regarding the integrity of the bicycle’s fork.

Head and Spinal Cord Injuries Due to Bicycle Accidents

If you’ve been seriously injured in a bicycle accident on the streets of San Francisco, Burlingame, San Mateo, Redwood City, Menlo Park, Palo Alto or Mountain View, contact San Francisco bicycle accident attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg today. We can evaluate your case and determine if an investigation into possible defective parts is needed to recover the damages you deserve.

 
 
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