Monthly Archives: December 2017

What Kind of Damage Did the Wine Country Fires Leave Behind?

California wildfire season has been especially nightmarish this year. In Wine Country, fires destroyed over 5,000 homes and killed 44 people. Usually by this time of the year, the season would be ramping down as fall showers move in, but this year has been different. Just a few weeks ago, more fires popped up in Southern California. What’s going on? Why are fires still terrorizing the countryside?

Will Northern California Recover from the Wine Country Fires?

Public officials are asking residents in our communities to do their part to prevent wildfires. This includes clearing fire breaks, and making better emergency plans. Officials are even urging residents to connect with community members who may be disabled or otherwise unable to evacuate as easily as others. Including those neighbors in your plans to evacuate could save lives. And with signs that fire season could get longer and more severe in years to come, such plans may become essential.

Experts believe that this wave of fires may be caused by global warning, which is keeping seasonal rains away, extending California’s dry season. This is causing more agencies to ramp up for the potential threat of fire to thousands of homes, but natural causes aren’t the only danger these agencies are worried about.

Many fires in our areas are caused by humans. The Wine Country fires that struck so close to home are suspected to have been caused by the negligence of PG&E, and other man-made sparks could be responsible for the fires terrorizing Los Angeles and San Diego right now. So far, lawsuits have been started to ensure that the responsible parties pay for their part in this tragedy, but even now, residents are having a hard time returning home. For many, the damage is too great, and they can no longer afford to live in their neighborhood.

This means contacting an attorney has become one of the best solution for the many who lost their homes to the rising fire dangers of California. Keep following the attorneys at Mary Alexander and Associates to learn more about other solutions wildfire victims can pursue.

Is Pokémon Go a Distracted Driving Crisis?

In July of 2016, Pokemon Go was released to an eager audience. Fans were able to catch pocket monsters through their mobile phones using an augmented reality (AR) app. This led many gamers to get off the couch and go outside, but there was a drawback. Some people used this mobile phone app while driving their vehicles, causing massive amounts of damage in distracted driving crashes. But just how much damage did these distracted drivers cause? A new study may have some long-awaited answers to this question.

The Distracted Driving Crisis and Pokemon Go

In 2015, there were over 6 million automobile crashes in the U.S., that’s around 1 million more crashes than what was seen in 2011. Mara Faccio and John J. McConnell, researchers at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management believe this increase is due to a rise in mobile app downloads. However, outside factors made it particularly difficult to test such a wide-sweeping hypothesis, so the researchers chose to do a more focused study.

They reviewed 12,000 accident reports from Tippecanoe County police between March 1, 2015 and November 30, 2016. From that data they were able to determine that Pokemon Go had potentially caused a 47 percent increase in traffic accidents after it was released.

The researchers found that out of the 286 additional crashes they logged, 134 happened near Pokestops, where groups of players would gather to get in-game items and bonuses. Faccio and McConnell were not able to say if the crashes were directly caused by people playing the game or by increased traffic in those areas, but in either case, it would seem that Pokemon Go had a role to play.

When the researchers applied their findings in Tippecanoe County to the rest of the country, they estimated that somewhere between $2 billion and $7.3 billion worth of damage had been caused by Pokemon Go distracted driving incidents. This is why it is critical for drivers to pay attention to the road and not their phones when out on the open road. The automobile accident attorneys at Mary Alexander & Associates want you to be aware of this danger, and if you or a loved one fall victim to this type of driving negligence, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

What If I’m Hit by an Uninsured Driver in California?

Every year when winter falls on San Francisco, driving becomes more challenging. Rain, cold and winds at this time of the year often catch drivers off guard, and then the crashes start. If you aren’t up to date on your insurance coverage, then this is the time of year to get everything straightened out. Especially considering that not every driver on the road has coverage. Do you know what to do if you are involved in a traffic incident with an uninsured driver?

How Dangerous Is Bay Area Driving in the Winter?

Thanksgiving weekend ended poorly for many Bay Area drivers this year. Thanks to rain, wind and unpreparedness, many drivers found themselves the victims of crashes, and some even lost their lives. On Highway 101, CHP responded to a crash where a driver lost control of his van, and was ejected from the vehicle only to have it roll on top of him. The driver did not survive. In Emeryville, a 10-year-old girl passed after the vehicle she was riding in lost control at the Berkeley Curve on I80. The vehicle she rode in spun out, crashing into a pickup that had also just lost traction and crashed into the center median.

Damage and loss of life in these incidents can be catastrophic, but it can be even worse if one of the drivers involved has no insurance. In California, drivers are required to have proof of financial responsibility, whether it be minimum liability insurance or a full policy covering over $100,000 in damage. However, not all drivers on the road adhere to these laws, and that’s when underinsured/uninsured driver coverage comes into play.

Is There Anything I Can Do If I’m Hit by an Uninsured Driver?

Most insurance companies have underinsured motorist (UIM) or uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, but you have to ask for them. These policies are often good investments as they protect you in the instance that someone without insurance crashes into your vehicle. These policies can even cover you in the event that you are struck by a hit-and-run driver. However, there are things you need to be aware of when it comes to these policies.

When you file a UM/UIM claim, you and your insurer take up different roles than you do in an ordinary claim situation. You will be settling the claim with your insurer, which means you will be in the role normally taken by the other party’s insurer. That means you will be negotiating a settlement, and this can be hard for the inexperienced.

This is one of those situations where you will benefit from having experienced legal representation by your side. A motor vehicle accident attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement with your insurance company in an uninsured driver situation, which makes contacting an attorney almost essential after getting into a crash. Remember, winter in the Bay Area can make driving treacherous, so be prepared.

What Does It Take to Be Selected as One of 2018’s Best Law Firms?

The personal injury attorneys here at Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C. have good news to share with the Bay Area. We have been chosen as one of the best law firms in the San Francisco area by US News and Best Lawyers. But what does that mean to our clients, and how was our law firm selected for such an honor?

How to Become One of 2018’s Best Law Firms

To be selected as one of the “Best Law Firms”, the firm must first have an attorney who is recognized in the current edition of Best Lawyers. To achieve this, that lawyer has to be well reviewed by her or his peers when Best Lawyers sends out its annual peer-review survey.

The next step in choosing the law firms that rank in “Best Law Firms” is a review of client feedback as well as what has been said on the Law Firm Survey, the Law Firm Leaders Survey, and the Best Lawyers peer-review survey. There aren’t any fees associated with submitting or receiving rank, so getting mentioned is never a matter of who paid more, but rather it is a result of what your community and peers think of that particular law firm.

That means that being ranked as a Tier 2 firm in the area of “Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs” here in San Francisco was a matter of being selected by fellow legal professionals and clients. We appreciate that the community thinks so highly of our service, and we will work hard to continue to bring strong representation to the people who need our help.

Thank you—from the Bay Area personal injury lawyers at Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C.

Web Statistics