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GJEL Accident Attorneys' Blog

Why are fire departments opposing safer street designs?

Monday, June 16th, 2014

As San Francisco develops safer street designs to better accommodate people walking and biking, an unlikely opposition group has emerged: the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD). SFFD has vocally opposed multiple pedestrian safety projects over the past year, including curb extensions in front of Taylor Elementary School, a pedestrian-friendly design of Bartlett Street, and transit […]

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When sharrows aren’t enough

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

San Francisco ambitiously seeks to expand bicycling to 20 percent of all trips by 2020. Yet, real concerns over safety remain the single greatest obstacle to expanding bicycling in the city. The recent collision between an unlicensed (and potentially distracted) driver and bicycle safety instructor Bert Hill illustrates the precarious state of bicycle safety in […]

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‘Every Bicyclist Counts’ underscores need for increased commitment to bike safety

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

In discussions of street safety there is a tendency to view traffic fatalities as isolated incidents or just another statistic. It’s important to reinforce the human element of these crashes: people are injured or killed in our own neighborhoods more frequently than we realize. We’ve recently looked at the Dangerous by Design report by the […]

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Are bike helmet laws sexist? Aussie woman says yes.

Friday, May 30th, 2014

There’s long been a heated debate surrounding mandatory helmet laws, but up until now sexism hadn’t really been one of the talking points. However, a recent complaint from an Australian woman has changed that, as she claims helmet laws unfairly target women with otherwise fabulous hair by forcing them to put vanity on the back […]

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‘Dangerous by Design’ report reiterates link between speeding and pedestrian deaths

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

As we’ve examined previously both here and here, the Dangerous by Design 2014 report contains a wealth of valuable information on the pedestrian safety crisis in the United States. One of the most striking aspects of the report is the clear connection drawn between speeding and pedestrian deaths. Consider the breakdown of pedestrian fatalities by […]

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How dangerous is your street?

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Last week we looked at the Dangerous by Design report. One of the useful features is the map tool, which overlays the locations of every pedestrian fatality in the country on Google Maps. This tool brings the challenges of street safety to life in every community across the country, and allows us to pinpoint the […]

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‘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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