Check Your Auto Insurance Policy Coverage

If you have not recently checked your automobile insurance policy and coverage page, this is a good time of the year to review your benefits (and the limitations or exclusions). Notably, automobile insurance rates are set primarily by a driver’s safety record and their annual miles driven. The following is for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, and not intended as legal advice.

1. B.I.  this is Bodily Injury. In other words, your LIABILITY COVERAGE that pays a THIRD PARTY for his/her personal injuries caused by you. In discussing your policy with your insurer, you want to decide whether the BI limits are “enough” to cover the possible value of any claims that might be made against YOU, now as well as later, to protect your assets now and in the future, including but not limited to all the money you have, real estate,  stock, valuables, retirement funds, etc. Err on the side of caution because after a lawsuit is filed and a  judgment is ordered against you, it is good ten (10) years, and can be renewed every ten years thereafter or it will expire. CA Civil Procedure Code § 683.110 (2018).

2. P.D.  this pays a third party for property damage, including the lower of the cost of repairs to or replacement of their car, caused by you; remember, you need enough to cover the possible value of cars today [and the reasonable future during the period of coverage you are purchasing] that may be damaged as a result of an accident.

3 & 4. BOTH COMPREHENSION and COLLISION WITH LOW DEDUCTIBLE.  it is important to choose a practical dollar amount, and not just because it is more affordable. Each of these are often an optional coverage, but are recommended !!

“Collision” coverage pays YOU for your own car’s damage if caused by you; the third party has no insurance OR their insurer claims you are at fault (in full or part) and you want you car repaired or to collect damages to any part of your car at the outset.

“Comprehensive” covers theft, vandalism, glass and windshield damage, fire, accidents with animals, weather/acts of nature, etc. to YOUR vehicle.

5. UNINSURED MOTORIST (UM) AND UNDER-INSURED MOTORIST (UDM).  these pay YOU for your injuries if the at-fault third person has no insurance. In some states, these may be optional coverage, but they are highly recommended because there are far too many individuals who do not have insurance, yet cause harm and damages to others who are, and you who may not be, “not” at-fault.

6. UNINSURED P.D (UMPD).  this pays for YOUR car damaged if the at-fault third party has no insurance. In some states, this may be an optional coverage; however, it may not be necessary if you have collision insurance, which also pays for damage caused by another driver without coverage or insufficient coverage.

7. RENTAL. consider the daily amount YOU would need to pay to get a rental car if the at-fault third party has no insurance, or a rental vehicle is needed when an accident was a result of your mistake or negligence. This is often optional coverage but many individuals consider it worthwhile.

8. MEDICAL PAYMENTS. commonly referred to as “MedPay,” this is optional coverage; however, it has the benefit of paying for the care and treatment of passengers, and you, in your vehicle who are injured as a result of a vehicular accident, regardless of who is deemed at fault. In addition, it will pay for your family and your medical bills if struck by a vehicle, even if on foot or in another individual’s vehicle.

9. UMBRELLA POLICY. these policies cover all losses whether from your car, boat, motorcycle, in your home, etc. YOU should read your coverage and determine whether you have this because it is beneficial and some even have special additional coverage. These policies are issued in amounts starting with $1 million; $2 million; $5 million, and more. They are actually inexpensive when considering the amount of coverage one is purchasing. However, these policies require a minimum dollar amount of LIABILITY coverage in the underlying auto, home, and other policies, such as $500,000. This too is optional coverage, but highly recommended !!

 

Minimum CALIFORNIA COVERAGE, but for most individuals it is considered to be “totally” INADEQUATE [see information set forth above]:

  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person.
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
  • $5,000 for damage to property

Price is not the only criterion when choosing (auto) insurance. You want the insurer to be a really good company with a reliable track record of settlements when claims are made so that payments are processed without excess delays.

CHP Reveals Cause of I-5 Police Car Crash

Investigators have released new information on Sunday’s fiery crash involving a San Diego police patrol car.

According to California Highway Patrol investigators, the crash occurred after a police officer traveling south on Interstate 5 near Palm Avenue drifted onto the right shoulder and struck a sign.

The on-duty officer then turned to the left, hitting a gray Dodge Challenger according to the CHP.

The force of the impact pushed both cars into the center divide.

The patrol car burst into flames. Both drivers were able to get out of their vehicles and were treated for minor injuries officials said.

The names of the SDPD officer or additional victim involved in the crash have not been released. SDPD Officer Dan Lasher gave some details about the officer’s condition to NBC 7 San Diego Sunday.

“He was conscious and talking at the scene, but they were talking about a possible head injury, so he was taken to a local hospital to be checked out,” Lasher said.

CHP investigators said it’s not known why the patrol car drifted onto the right shoulder.

Driverless car crashes into elderly man on bench

 

An 82-year-old man suffered serious injuries Thursday when an unoccupied car rolled out of a convenience store parking lot in Alpine and crashed through the nearby bus stop where he was sitting.

The 1996 Volkswagen Jetta began rolling through the lot at Tavern Road and Alpine Boulevard about 11 a.m., shortly after the driver pulled up to a gas pump at the Circle K and got out to pay the clerk, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The runaway sedan rolled down a driveway and over a curb, then smashed into the bench on which Alpine resident Sidney Griffin was seated, CHP public- affairs Officer Brian Pennings said. The car came to a stop in the adjacent roadway, with Griffin underneath it.

Medics took the victim to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, where he was admitted in serious but stable condition, Pennings said.

It was not immediately clear why the vehicle began rolling on its own.

Police are searching for a man that sexually assaulted a woman at Historic Mission in Oceanside

Police are searching for an unknown man who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman on the grounds of a historic mission in Oceanside last month.

According to investigators, the sexual assault happened on Mar. 18 around 3:30 p.m. outside the Mission San Luis Rey on Mission Avenue.

Police say a man grabbed a female victim, fondled her and allegedly attempted to drag her into some nearby bushes. The woman fought back, striking the suspect, and was able to run away.

Three weeks later, police say the suspect is still at large. On Wednesday, officials released a composite sketch of the man.

Investigators describe him as a Hispanic man in his 30s, approximately 6-feet-tall and 200 pounds. He has brown or black shoulder-length hair, a moustache, a large mole on his neck and a tattoo of a snake on the back of his left forearm.

The Oceanside Police Department is asking anyone with information on this case to contact detectives handling the case at (760) 435-4824 or (800) 78-CRIME.

Safeway Grocery Settles Claim of Employee With Disability

On November 2, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported a settlement regarding a food services employee on disability leave for a job injury at Safeway Grocery.

Initially Safeway followed the law, Americans with Disabilities (ADA), which requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees with a disability; as such Safeway allowed the employee to work in a different position that did not require heavy lifting as she did in her previous assignment. However, Safeway unilaterally decided to place the employee on unpaid leave indefinitely, making the argument that the employee had exceeded what they deemed an allowable time lime and, therefore, could no longer enjoy the position with modified duty.

The Federal Disability Lawsuit was settled by Safeway because of a legal discrimination claim brought against it. The requirement of reasonable accommodation includes, but is not limited to, the employer reassigning an employee with a disability to another position, unless it can be established this would cause a significant expense to the employer and/or substantial difficulties associated with the same. There is no time limit provided the employee has a qualifying disability.

For additional information on employee related issues, you are invited to view our web site at www.spitalaw.com

Friend: Murdered woman texted ‘help’ after leaving with Marine

The preliminary hearing for the Marine sergeant accused in the murder of his wife has started. The woman’s body was discovered near a lake last year. According to a friend of the victim, the woman texted the word “help” shortly after leaving on a dinner cruise with the suspect.

During the testimony, the friend said the victim was reluctant to go on the cruise with her estranged husband, but decided to go with him after his pregnant girlfriend assured her it was fine. The girlfriend claimed that she could not accompany him due to her pregnancy. She is also a suspect in the woman’s murder case.

Discrepancies in the suspect’s narrative about what happened to the victim during their outing led the friend to report the woman as missing. Further investigation led to the discovery of BDSM paraphernalia in the suspect’s home. Authorities allege the victim was forced to participate in sexual behavior prior to being killed.

 

 

 

CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT RULES EMPLOYER MUST PROVIDE SEATS FOR EMPLOYEES

In a unanimous opinion, NYKEYA KILBY vs. CVS PHARMACY, INC., Case # S215614, on April 4, 2016, the Supreme Court of California held an employer must provide suitable seating for its employees as long as it is reasonable to do so in the particular work environment. In other words, the employer must provide seats for their employees:

  1. When the tasks being performed at the location the employee works (physical layout of work place) reasonably permit individuals to be seated;
  2. Utilizing a seat does not interfere with him/her performing any of the tasks that may require standing;
  3. And, it is the burden of the employer to establish the unavailability of suitable seats, rather than the obligation of an employee.

The underlying case arose when an employee at CVS was advised she had to stand while performing her duties and functions, which included operating a cash register, organizing and stocking shelves with products, as well as in front of and behind the sales counter, and cleaning the register. It is not questioned that certain functions, such as gathering shopping baskets, vacuuming, and removing trash are active duty tasks that cannot reasonably be performed while seated. In a companion case, a bank teller performing duties at his/her station, such as cashing checks, accepting deposits,  and processing withdrawals should be contrasted with the duties away from his/her window-counter, the latter including such tasks as escorting customers to the safe deposit boxes in the bank vault or assisting customers at an ATM machine.

The defense tried unsuccessfully to distinguish “standing” from “seated” tasks. However, the court stated:

“There is no principled reason for denying an employee a seat when he spends a substantial part of his work day at a single location performing tasks that could reasonably be done while seated merely because his job duties include other tasks that must be done standing.”

……

“Courts should look to the actual tasks performed, or reasonably expected to be performed, not to abstract characterizations, job titles or descriptions that may or may not reflect the actual work performed. Tasks performed with more frequency or for a longer duration would be more germane to the seating inquiry than tasks performed briefly or infrequently.”

The reasonableness standard allows for more flexibility; hence, an employee would be entitled to a seat if the duration and frequency of the seated task is not negligible (those tasks that are performed briefly or infrequently). Even when employees are not engaged in the active duties of their work but are required to stand at a specific location, an adequate number of suitable seats must be available in reasonable proximity to the work area for employees to use as long as it does not interfere with the performance of their tasks and duties.

Rather than utilizing an employer’s business judgment as to whether the work must be performed while standing, the Court concluded it is rather an objective inquiry that takes into consideration, but is not based solely upon, an employer’s reasonable expectations regarding customer service and the employer’s role in setting job duties. As such, however, it does not allow employers to arbitrarily define which are “standing” tasks.

Do you or someone you know work at a designated location with a suitable seat? If not, the next question is why not?

 

Driver in Santaluz Stroller Crash Faces Multiple Charges

A woman in North County is facing charges of vehicular manslaughter, failure to stop at a red light, and failure to yield to a pedestrian.  The suspect is believed to have ran a red light at an intersection while the victim was pushing a 14-month old toddler in a stroller. The woman pushing the stroller suffered serious injuries and later died at the hospital. The toddler was hospitalized in intensive care for several injuries, including a broken rib and skull fracture.

Stories like these are difficult to hear. Unfortunately, these types of tragedies occur on a daily basis. Although no amount of monetary compensation can undo tragedy, our San Diego personal injury lawyers understand that financial compensation can help you pick up the pieces and begin your road to recovery.

Is a University Liable for Violence on the Campus?

The California Court of Appeals was scheduled  to hear oral argument on Friday, August 7, 2015 in a case filed in 2010 by Katherine Rosen against her attacker and UCLA, which is governed by the Regents of the University of California; at the time she was a UCLA student who was stabbed and had her neck slashed during a class in an unprovoked attack by a fellow student. In the criminal case against the defendant, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and placed in a psychiatric hospital, Patton State Hospital, for an indefinite period of time.

In the civil action the plaintiff argued the university failed to properly respond to warnings about the potentially violent behavior of the defendant. This was in contrast to the defense arguments that it was a random act of violence. Proponents of civil liability contend a university owes a duty to provide a safe environment to and protect its students from others on the campus, particularly those who get treatment from the college for mental health conditions. It is a sad reality that acts of cruelty that are plainly brutal and  inhumane have become a national scourge.

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