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GJEL Accident Attorneys' Blog

‘Dangerous by Design 2014’ report examines pedestrian safety crisis

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

The United States continues to struggle with a legacy of unsafe street designs that fail to safely accommodate people walking. Dangerous by Design 2014 (PDF), released by the National Complete Streets Coalition (a program of Smart Growth America), documents the extent of this epidemic of unsafe streets. From 2003 to 2012, more than 47,000 people […]

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The legal liability of a social host in California

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

It happens more than it should. Someone (here we will call her Ms. H.) invites some friends, maybe a lot of friends and maybe their friends as well, to a social gathering, where food and drink, lots of drink, is provided. Something bad happens, either to one of the guests at the party, or maybe […]

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Is it legal to cross the street during a countdown signal?

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Crosswalk countdown signals are an increasingly common tool to inform pedestrians precisely how much time they have to cross the street. The idea behind these signals is that pedestrians are less likely to cross during the flashing “Don’t Walk” phase if they know there are only a few seconds left before the light turns red. […]

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Will I have to pay taxes on my recovery?

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Ninety-nine percent of the time your recovery from a personal injury case will not be taxable, that’s the way the law is set up. So this is tax-free money that you recover, and not only is it tax-free which means that you don’t owe taxes, you don’t even report it to the IRS.

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The hypocrisy of San Francisco’s selective traffic law enforcement

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Street safety depends on the fair enforcement of traffic laws, but enforcement is not always fair. The juxtaposition of two stories over the past week illustrates the incongruent enforcement of traffic laws in San Francisco. On Bike to Work Day last Thursday, SFPD organized a sting to ticket bicyclists rolling through stop signs on the […]

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Street safety is about equity

Monday, May 12th, 2014

In discussions of street safety, there is a tendency to stereotype pedestrian and bicycle advocates as hipsters, gentrifiers, yuppies, and a host of other terms that connote a young, white, upper-middle class demographic that bicycle lanes or streetscape improvements allegedly serve. But a new report by the American Community Survey (PDF link) tells a different […]

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If I’m on Medicare, can they take my entire recovery?

Friday, May 9th, 2014

If you’re on Medicare, they cannot take your entire recovery. If you are on Medicare there is a national formula and the most Medicare will ever take is 50% of the net to you. So, the most common example is that you have a medical bill paid by Medicare of $300,000, we only recover for […]

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Is Berkeley falling behind in the race for safe streets?

Monday, May 5th, 2014

The City of Berkeley is a well-known leader in environmentalism, social justice, and public health. Given that active transportation plays an integral role in each of these fields, it’s no surprise that Berkeley has long been one of the most bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly cities in California. Berkeley was one of the early adopters of complete […]

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If I’m on Medicaid, can they take my entire recovery?

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

No, at least if you are on MediCal–the California version of Medicaid–they cannot take your entire recovery. The law in California is that the most MediCal can take out of your recovery is 50% of your net. So to give an example, let’s say you’re in an accident where the other person has $100,000 worth […]

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If I’m rear-ended, is it always the other person’s fault?

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Under California law there is a presumption that if you are struck in the rear, that it is the fault of the person who struck you. It is what is called in the law a “rebuttable presumption,” and what’s meant by a “rebuttable presumption” is it’s not 100 percent concrete that it’s always the other […]

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Oakland’s Telegraph Avenue Complete Streets Plan: Building a Safer Street

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Telegraph Avenue is one of Oakland’s key transportation corridors, linking Downtown Oakland with Downtown Berkeley. It serves thousands of transit riders, drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians every day, and also functions as the commercial backbone of the popular Temescal, Koreatown/Northgate, and Uptown districts. However, Telegraph is one of Oakland’s most dangerous streets because of its antiquated […]

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Are bike accidents treated differently than auto accidents?

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Bicycle accidents and auto accidents, technically, are treated identically under California law. The rules of determining who is at fault are the same. As a practical matter, they really are treated differently. And the reason they’re treated differently has to do with what city or county the case is handled in. There are certain places […]

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What is a Cycle Track?

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Recently we discussed the ongoing battle between California cities and Caltrans over street design, most notably cycle tracks. As it turns out, Caltrans just announced its official endorsement of the NACTO guide at last week’s Cities for Cycling event by NACTO, thereby paving the way for cycle tracks to be implemented across California. Let’s take […]

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Are motorcycle accidents treated differently than auto accidents?

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Technically, motorcycle accidents and auto accidents are treated identically under the law, but as a practical matter juries are less kind and less favorable to motorcycle riders than they are to automobile drivers. And this is very often an unfair stereotype. The jury sometimes assumes that the motorcyclist is crazy, taking unnecessary risks, etc – […]

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Is traffic violence sufficiently prosecuted?

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

A year ago, 17 year old Hanren Chang was hit and killed by a drunk driver while crossing Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco. Hanren, a student at Lowell High School, was walking home after celebrating her birthday earlier that night. Her death was one of 21 tragic fatalities by pedestrians in San Francisco in 2013, […]

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#ReplaceBikeWithCar Satirizes Anti-Bike Rhetoric

Monday, April 7th, 2014

The rise of bicycling and the expansion of bike lanes can at times provoke strong negative reactions in people, whether it’s at public meetings, newspaper comment boards, or casual conversations. Sometimes the arguments against bike lanes can border on absurdity and demonstrate an entrenched bias toward driving. Over the weekend, #ReplaceBikeWithCar was a trending topic […]

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What if I didn’t realize I was injured until weeks after my accident?

Friday, April 4th, 2014

This is an issue that comes up fairly frequently. A person is hit very hard in an accident, they walk out of the car, they’re feeling ok – then maybe the next day they’re a little stiff and sore, but they have to go to work, they just take Advil, and then three weeks later […]

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Cities battle Caltrans over street design

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

As cities across California seek to build safer, healthier, greener “complete streets,” many have come into conflict with Caltrans over what constitutes an acceptable (and legally defensible) design. This post will be the first of a series in the coming weeks that examines issues of street design and how it impacts safety, particularly for vulnerable […]

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What if I’m injured on the job?

Friday, March 28th, 2014

If you’re injured on the job, you may have two separate kinds of cases. You definitely have a worker’s comp case under California law, but in addition, if there was someone other than your employer who’s at fault, you would also have a personal injury case. The simplest example of this is: you’re driving in […]

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How does the Affordable Care Act affect a potential settlement?

Friday, March 21st, 2014

The Affordable Care Act actually gives a lot more confidence to me as an attorney in settling a client’s case because prior to the Affordable Care Act, even if I were to get a client an enormous settlement, the question is: if they were out of work and not eligible for health insurance, how are […]

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