How do Personal Injury Attorneys Avoid Motor Vehicle Accidents?

by Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation
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Woodland Hills personal injury attorney Barry P. Goldberg knows that getting in an accident is a very unwanted inconvenience.  Worse, an accident is very dangerous and can cost thousands of unwanted and unwelcome bills.  After sitting down with some fellow personal injury lawyers, it became clear that there are some strategies that personal injury attorneys intuitively employ in order not to be involved in motor vehicle accidents.  Some strategies are obvious and others are subtler.

Why Listen to a Personal Injury Attorney?

Personal injury attorneys as a group listen to unfortunate clients and potential clients day in and day out about how two or more vehicles came into contact.  Personal injury attorneys speak to adjusters on a regular basis and hear evolving liability theories from the other side’s perspective.  Personal injury attorneys read the Vehicle Code sections and must live in a world of jury instructions.  In fact, the jury instruction for left turns is so harsh, it is a wonder personal injury attorneys ever make left turns at all!

  1. Personal Injury Attorneys Only Turn Left when it is a ‘Sure Thing!”

Vehicle Code §21801, provides:

(a) The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety. (Emphasis added.)

CACI Jury Instruction 704. Left Turns, provides:

The statute just read to you uses the word “hazard.” A “hazard” exists if any approaching vehicle is so near or is approaching so fast that a reasonably careful person would realize that there is a danger of a collision [or accident].

[A driver who is attempting to make a left turn must make sure that no oncoming vehicles are close enough to be a hazard before he or she proceeds across each lane.]

Let me summarize this for you, if there is an accident —the approaching vehicle constituted a hazard!

Personal injury attorneys are very careful when making a left turn.  (I even know personal injury attorneys that choose to make two right turns instead of a left turn!) They make certain that the intersection is clear and there are no oncoming cars whatsoever before making a turn, regardless of the color of the light.  In fact, a personal injury lawyer would rather get stuck in an intersection on a red light rather than risk an accident.

Personal injury attorneys never “chance it” hoping that the oncoming vehicle will stop.

  1. Personal Injury Attorneys do not Run Yellow/Red Lights.

The image of a personal injury attorney is that of a fast-moving risk taker.  But, that is definitely not true when it comes to red lights and intersections. Because personal injury attorneys never “chance it,” do not be surprised to see a personal injury attorney waste a perfectly good yellow light.  Personal injury attorneys slow down towards an intersection and will stop at a yellow-to-red light.  While it is true that the attorney may have the right of way, including versus a left-turner, a personal injury attorney will not assert that right of way if there is even a possibility of an accident.

A personal injury attorney, having heard every explanation under the sun, assumes the opposing driver will make a mistake.  It happens every day to great drivers.

  1. Personal Injury Attorneys “Drive Away” from Traffic Jams.

This one is not as obvious.  Personal injury attorneys know that accidents happen when vehicles are in proximity and traveling fast.  So, personal injury attorneys speed up or slow down to get out of a pack on the freeway.  Often, a personal injury attorney would rather speed and risk a ticket to get into a “clear area” on the freeway.  With no car in front, in back or on the sides, there is simply no risk of an accident.

  1. Personal Injury Attorneys are less likely to Text While Driving.

This one is a tough one.  On the one hand, personal injury attorney like to conduct business on the road.  On the other hand, every personal injury attorney knows that texting or looking down at a phone is the number one reason for accidents. So, personal injury attorneys are “more likely” to put the phone away while driving.  But, personal injury attorneys are not perfect.

A successful personal injury attorney may have some benefits in this regard. As we discussed this issue, colleagues admitted that higher end vehicles have the phone charger in a closed center console. Further, most higher end vehicles interface with a device to provide music and routine phone usage from the vehicle display.

In fact, the new operating systems for devices default to messages like: “I am driving and cannot respond now.”  My new phone defaults to a message for the driver: “Phone disabled while driving.”

Personal injury lawyers are more likely to acknowledge the “defaults” and leave their devices in “driving mode.”  I have made it a pledge to my family to simply concentrate on driving while in my vehicle.  Truthfully, “It can wait!”  Besides, personal injury attorneys can really use the down time disconnected to minimize stress.  It is not so bad to have your lawyer show up to a deposition or court rested and ready!

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation | Attorney Advertising

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