The Law Offices OfPhilip M. Tobin

San Jose Personal Injury Law Blog

Driving risks and the holidays

The holidays present a number of risks for drivers in California. Many people travel to visit friends and families, and the sheer volume of other drivers on the road during this time can lead to an increase in accidents. You should take care driving at any time, but especially at the end of the year. 

The National Safety Council offers some helpful hints for driving during the holidays. Prepare for heavier traffic than normal, with people out and about shopping or attending festivities. This means giving yourself extra time to get to your destination and driving defensively. It is especially important during this time to keep all distractions to a minimum.

What are 3 benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney?

Auto accidents are an unfortunate fact of life. If you were injured in an accident with an at-fault driver here in San Jose, you will need to file a claim for damages in order to recoup any losses from the collision.

You may be tempted to handle your own personal injury claim after getting hurt. While some very minor claims may be effectively managed by the claimant, there are major benefits to retaining an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your case.

What is the right of way for pedestrians?

The roadways in California are a shared space. They see not only traffic from passenger and commercial vehicles but also pedestrians. Everyone on the roadways needs to obey the law and watch out for each other to avoid accidents. As a pedestrian, you should know and understand the right of way rules as explained by California Legislative Information.

To begin with, crosswalks can help keep you safe. These marked walkways alert motorists that you may be in the area and help them to pay more attention. If you are in a crosswalk, a motorist must yield to you. However, this does not give you the right to run in front of a vehicle or to cross when you know a vehicle is coming. If you see a vehicle coming down the road, you cannot begin crossing until you have clearance to do so safely.

Who can sue for wrongful death?

When a person dies due to the negligence or oversight of someone else, there may be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. However, not just anyone may file this type of case in California. According to California Legislative Information, there are only a few specific people who have the right to sue for wrongful death.

The most obvious group of people are the deceased immediate family. If your spouse died, you may bring the lawsuit. The same is true if it was your domestic partner. It is also possible to bring a lawsuit if you are the child of the person who died or someone who was financially dependent on the person. Financial dependence can be anyone who relied on that person to take care of him or financially. This might be parents or stepchildren. This may also include an ex-spouse who received financial support from the person. It is also possible for you to bring the lawsuit if you are a minor who lived with the person for the previous 180 days. You also must have been financially dependent on the person who died.

Understanding respondeat superior

If you are lucky enough to walk away from a truck accident in San Jose, your gratitude at being alive may quickly be tempered by the realization that you could still face inordinate expenses from whatever injuries you and/or your passengers may have sustained as well as from the damage caused to your vehicle. Many of those that we here at The Law Offices of Philip M. Tobin have worked with in similar circumstances have found themselves needing to seek compensation to cover their accident-related costs. If the same is true for you, then you may be wondering who bears the brunt of the liability in your case. 

When your accident is caused by a truck driver, it is hard to avoid first looking at them as the one primarily responsible. Yet what about the company that put them in the position to cause a collision in the first place. The legal principle of respondeat superior allows you to assign liability to an employer when you are injured due to the actions of its employee. 

What is defensive driving?

Being a safe, responsible driver should be a concern of all who share California roads. In this case, defensive driving skills are extremely helpful. Not only will defensive driving help keep you and your passengers safe, it can also help new drivers prevent accidents from occurring. offers the following tips on how you can be a safer driver.

Keep a safe distance

3 reasons to wear a helmet on a motorcycle

California is one of a number of states to mandate helmets for everyone riding a motorcycle. However, these laws have often met with resistance from motorcycle enthusiasts for a number of reasons.

Despite the pushback, wearing a helmet while on a motorcycle is a good idea for reasons other than being in compliance with the law. Here are three reasons to wear a helmet when riding on a motorcycle.

Highway 17 one of California's most dangerous roads

San Jose drivers typically have stories of hits and near-misses they had while traveling on Highway 17. There is an above-average number of collisions on the stretch of road from San Jose to Santa Cruz, some of which may be attributed — at least in part — to the fact that there are more drivers than ever using the highway.

But what else is behind Hwy. 17's moniker of "one of California's most dangerous roads?" The highway snakes around a series of blind curves and sharp turns. When traffic is particularly dense, some drivers' aggressive behavior in traffic, e.g., speeding, spinning out, cutting other motorists off and experiencing episodes of road rage, exacerbates the inherent dangers.Distracted driving adds to dangersCommuters who get distracted by doing anything other than driving create even more hazards on Hwy. 17. In 2015, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) dealt with over 660 collisions, a 10-year high. One CHP officer noted that "[i]t's incumbent upon everybody to observe all the rules of the road, all the speed laws, [not] following too closely, keeping distractions out of the car."Specific danger spot

Tips on driving safely in school zones

With school back in session in San Jose, many drivers are finding themselves driving in areas teeming with kids on their way to and from school. School-aged children have a habit of crossing the road carelessly and otherwise disobeying traffic regulations, which can lead to devastating injuries if motorists are caught unaware. That’s why it’s up to each individual driver to play his or her part to preserve the safety of children in school zones.

According to AARP, drivers must be on their toes at all times. For example, many kids will cross the street between parked vehicles instead of doing so at the designated cross walks. When driving through areas heavily populated with children, it’s best to be on the alert at all times. Look between cars and drive slowly so that you can react in time should a pedestrian dart in front of your vehicle.

How can I overcome the loss of a loved one?

Losing a loved one is rarely easy. However, losing a loved one to a senseless accident that results from another person’s negligent behavior can be earth-shattering. While the grieving process is rarely easy, there are steps you can take to progress throughout it towards a place of healing. To this end, the American Psychological Association recommends the following tips.

Don’t deny your feelings

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