| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

Common Bicycle Accident Causes

A bicycle ride provides exercise as well as being recreational. Unfortunately, the percentage of highway deaths relating to non-vehicle occupants, including bicycle riders, has increased from 13% in 2003 to 17% in 2012. There are a number of causes that are common to bicycle accidents. This article will discuss some of the common causes of such accidents as well as how to avoid them. It must be noted that when an accident happens between a vehicle and a bicycle it is the bicycle rider that is most likely to be injured, or, in worst case scenarios, killed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) [Bicycle Safety | NHTSA] in 2019 alone there were 846 bicyclists killed in traffic accidents. In addition, there were also 49,000 injuries sustained in 2012. If you have been injured as a result of a bicycle accident, ensure that you contact a Bakersfield bicycle accident attorney  for legal advice and representation. It is important to take note of common causes of bicycle accidents in order to avoid bicycle accidents, some of the common causes are: Distracted riding – This is similar to distracted driving, however, when a cyclist takes his mind and or eyes off the road in front of him, this may prove to be fatal. A large number of cyclists look down at their phones, music devices or other mobile devices while they ride. Others are confident enough to text, email, surf the web or do other activities on their mobile device while riding their bicycles. Such distractions can lead to accidents. Speeding – Generally, bicyclists do not ride as fast as cars do, however, that doesn’t mean that bicyclists are unable to ride as fast as possible. It is when a bicyclist chooses to speed that can lead to serious injuries and death when an accident occurs with motor vehicles. Further, other elements that increase the seriousness of injuries associated with an accident that occurs when a bicyclist is speeding are when the road and terrain are in bad condition, or when the weather conditions are also bad. Such factors must be taken into account when deciding a safe speed to use when riding. Too close for comfort – It is of the utmost importance that drivers leave a minimum of three feet between themselves and other vehicles. At least twenty states require motorists to give a three-foot space between their vehicles and a bicyclist when passing in the same lane. However, the bicyclists shouldn’t assume that vehicles will leave a lot of space for them, therefore, it is much safer for the cyclist to use a shoulder lane or sidewalk instead of riding their bike at the edge of the roadway. In addition, it is important that cyclists know which highways and freeways, as well  as which sidewalks, do not allow cyclists on them. Road rules – In most states bicyclists are considered as vehicles, as a result, they are subject to the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles on the road. Therefore, they must obey traffic lights and stop signs and other road signals. Cars Don’t See You – it is unfortunate that people driving cars don’t always look out for bicycles, motorcycles or even pedestrians and can have big blind spots when it comes to bike riders.  Use extreme caution, especially in intersections.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury Attorneys

Thinking of a Hit and Run?

It’s in our nature to want to run away in a stressful situation, but that being our first impulse is defintely not be the best thing to do when it comes to a car accident scene. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, one hit-and-run crash is likely to happen every minute in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were 2,049 deaths caused by hit-and-run accidents in 2016; this is the highest recorded number ever in the history of the country. A report provided by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety stated that in 2016, 337 deaths were caused by hit-and-runs in the state of California. According to I drive safely [What Exactly is a Hit and Run Accident? (idrivesafely.com)], a hit-and-run accident is “any accident where a vehicle hits a person, object or vehicle and the driver knowingly leaves the scene without providing their information.” It must be noted that some states include a collision with an animal as part of the definition of a hit-and-run. In other states, it is considered a hit-and-run if you leave the scene of the accident whether or not you caused it. It must be noted that because the hit and run accidents have become so common the key advice any Bakersfield injury attorney will provide with regards to being involved in a vehicle accident is: “Don’t leave the scene of the accident!” This is because there are many criminal penalties tied to hit and run accidents; however, these vary from one state to the next. Many states provide for hit and run offenses with the penalties of either a misdemeanor or a felony. However, this is dependent on the circumstances of your case.  It could  also be used against you as evidence that you were at fault for a car crash. If a hit-and-run is classified as a felony, the accident likely resulted in some type of injury to a person, whether the person injured was a pedestrian or an occupant of a vehicle. Penalties associated with a felony hit and run are severe and many states impose fines between $5,000 and $20,000. And the prospect of being imprisoned as punishment for a felony hit-and-run is very high; however, this is mainly determined by the circumstances of the case. While a hit and run can be classified as a misdemeanor, the punishment associated with it still may be a fine of up to $5,000 and up to one year of jail time. Other penalties imposed for hit and run accidents are administrative penalties linked to your driver’s license. Such penalties are imposed by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. And this is regardless of whether it is for a felony hit-and-run or misdemeanor hit-and-run. Generally, the penalties may be an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. This is often for a period of six months or so, while in some states it may be up to 3 years. This shows the serious nature of hit-and-run accidents and their effect on the perpetrators.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

What is your ‘duty of care’?

In personal injury cases, the issue of liability boils down to who was careful and who was careless. Determining fault in a personal injury accident claim is often done under the legal theory of negligence. One of the four elements of determining negligence is the duty of care; this article will discuss the ‘duty of care’ in relation to fault in an accident. Negligence is defined by the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute [Negligence | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)] as “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” There are four elements that must be proven in a personal injury negligence case, these are: Duty of care Breach of duty of care Injuries Causation Duty of care is whereby the law requires an individual to act in a reasonably careful manner. With regards to a vehicle driver, the duty of care requires that they use reasonable caution in all aspects of operating their vehicle. This is an obvious duty of care and it is often outlined in the DMV booklet and the tests carried out for an individual to receive a vehicle driving license. According to the Cornell Law School definition, negligence involves behaving with ‘a level of care’, such a level of care can be rephrased as taking ‘reasonable care’. The basic rule in negligence is that individuals must take reasonable care so as to avoid injury or harm to others. However, it must be noted that when it comes to various forms of personal injury cases, reasonable care varies with regards to time, place, and the relationship between the people. With regards to motorcycle accidents, reasonable care is expected from all road users at all times and on any road. If you require more information as to who was negligent in your motorcycle accident case speak to a Bakersfield motorcycle accident lawyer today. While the statement, “reasonable care is expected of all road users” may be truthful, to some extent it is vague. Thus, the question arises as to what legal duties drivers have that would qualify as reasonable care. Some examples of legal duties each driver has include the following: Reasonable speed – All drivers have the duty to drive their vehicle at a reasonable speed for the conditions. Such speed does not necessarily have to be the posted speed limit or just below it, rather, a driver needs to be prudent in determining the best speed based on circumstances relating to the existing traffic, weather conditions at the time, visibility, and the road they are traveling on. As a result, a driver may be found to be negligent for driving at the posted speed limit in bad weather or with low visibility. Keeping control of your vehicle – A driver is expected to maintain control of their vehicle at all times. A driver may be found to be negligent if they lose control of their vehicle for any reason. Driver-related state law – Every state has motor vehicle laws that govern how drivers are expected to conduct themselves on the road. Violating such laws presumes negligence.  For example, failing to stop at a traffic signal is a violation of law.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Safety

Was Negligence the Cause of Your Car Accident?

In any car accident incident, the most common question asked is who was at fault. This is a key question as the person who is at fault for the accident is required by law to compensate for any losses suffered by other parties involved in the accident. This article will discuss vehicle accidents that are caused by negligence. One of the most common legal concepts relied upon when proving fault in a car accident incident is that of negligence. According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute [Negligence | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)] negligence is defined as “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act.” So, to put it into context negligence is any careless conduct or behavior which results in the harm of another person. When looking at an accident involving a vehicle a person may be said to have acted negligently if s/he did something that s/he should not have done. For example, if a driver runs a red light or speeds. Or, it may be where the driver failed to do something that they should have done. For example, failing to yield or not switching on the headlights while driving at night. It is important to seek legal advice from an experienced Bakersfield car accident lawyer to understand negligence in your case. Another important aspect of negligence is the issue of using reasonable care; this is necessary in order to avoid injury to other road users; that is passengers, pedestrians, and motorists. In instances where a driver fails to use reasonable care and another person is injured as a result, that driver can be held financially liable for the individual’s injuries and any other losses. The legal concept of negligence is used when there is a dispute with regards to who was at fault for a car accident. This is applicable whether the car accident claim is part of an insurance claims process or is being handled in court. It must be noted that the person making the claim, that is the plaintiff, has the burden of proving that the defendant was negligent. With regards to a car accident lawsuit, the plaintiff needs to establish the following: There exists a legal requirement for the defendant to be reasonably careful – driving law requires that drivers use reasonable caution while operating their vehicles. The defendant was not careful – It must be established that the defendant violated their duty under the law of being careful (i.e., breach of the duty of care). Determining this point evaluates what a reasonable person would have done under the same circumstances in comparison with the driver’s actions. The conduct of the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries – There must be evidence that the plaintiff was injured as a result of the defendant’s actions. Near misses are not considered in a car accident claim. Damages–The victim   of the accident must have been injured in some way to receive compensation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury Attorneys

Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents

Thanks to the beautiful warm year-round weather in California, this state has one of the largest populations of bicycle riders in the country. Unfortunately, in recent years there has been a spike in the number of bicycle accidents in the state. This article will discuss some common causes of bicycle accidents. According to one US News and World Report [Bike Fatalities Hit 25-Year High in California, Rise Nationwide | Healthiest Communities | US News] traffic accidents killed 455 cyclists in California between the years 2016 and 2018; this is according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “The ratio is now 3.9 bike accident fatalities per every 1 million people, this is the highest rate recorded over any three-year period since the mid-1990s. 516 cyclists died in traffic accidents from 2016 to 2018; which is a rate of 2.6 per 1 million people.” This begs the question as to what is causing a spike in bicycle accidents? It is important to note that bicycle accidents happen on public roads as a result of many different factors and circumstances. However, bicycle accidents that appear to be the most common are those between bicyclists and vehicles. If you are involved in one, contact a Bakersfield bicycle accident attorney [https://www.youngwooldridge.com/] today. Data provided by the NHTSA stated that 96% of bicycle riders killed in the year 2017 were involved in a single-vehicle accident. Some of the most common causes of bicycle and vehicle accidents include the following: Distracted driving – this is one of the most common causesof car accidents and this includes those involving bicycles. When using the term distracted driving it refers to anything or activity that draws the driver’s hands off the steering wheel, eyes away from the road and/or mind off driving. Any such distraction can result in a driver failing to take note of something critical, likely to happen or the change in road conditions that require immediate action in order to avoid an accident or incident. It must be noted though that being distracted is not limited to a vehicle driver, even bicyclists may become distracted and fail to pay attention to what is happening around them. Reckless driving – reckless driving or road rage are where a driver intentionally drives in a dangerous way. By such driving they not only endanger themselves but every other road user. This becomes even more dangerous when the recipient of such road rage is a cyclist and can quickly turn into a deadly situation. Some forms of road rage or aggression can be manifested in the following: racing excessive honking cutting someone off blocking the bike lane yelling or the use of inappropriate hand gestures Not yielding when necessary – it is important to note that bicycle riders are not second-class road citizens. Rather, they share the same rights as other road users including vehicle drivers. Therefore, when a vehicle driver fails to take note of other vehicles including bicycles this may result in an accident. In other scenarios, drivers may fail to yield to bicycles when entering an intersection, merging lanes, etc. All this results in collisions which are avoidable.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Employment Law

Common Causes of Big Rig Truck Accidents

Any vehicle accident can lead to trauma, however, one of the scariest accidents anyone may be involved in is with a big rig truck. There are many incidents whereby vehicles are squashed, smashed, run off the road or collide with big rig trucks. All these incidents can occur as a result of a number of different factors. This article will focus on some of the common causes of car accidents involving big rig trucks. According to info bloom [What is a Big Rig? (With pictures) (infobloom.com)], “the term big rig is a colloquialism for a semi-truck or a tractor trailer, a two-part truck that consists of both a tractor, the truck portion with the engine, and a trailer.” Another common term for big rig is semi-truck and includes 10 to 18 wheelers. As shown by the definition these are huge vehicles that may take up the space of one or two smaller vehicles. There are a number of factors that may contribute to a vehicle accident; if you were involved in one, contact a Bakersfield big rig accident lawyer [https://www.youngwooldridge.com/truck-accident/] today for legal advice and representation. Some common big rig accident causes include: Fatigue and drugs – generally when a driver is tired, they may fall asleep, fail to pay attention or misjudge driving conditions. When a driver is drowsy or tired it directly affects their ability to control the truck, impairs their judgement, slackens their reaction time and could stop a driver frommaking safe decisions. It is not uncommon for truck drivers to suffer fatigue as a result of long driving hours. Many trucking companies allegedly push for truck drivers to meet deadlines that may require them to drive longer than the legal hours they are required. This results in driver fatigue and accidents. Some drivers use performance enhancing drugs to stay awake longer. However, federal regulations make it a must for trucking companies to test their drivers for alcohol and drugs as part of a condition of their employment. Such drug tests are carried out randomly for drivers who are on duty. More so such tests must be conducted when a driver is involved in any accidents that result in a fatality. Driver error – the cost paid by a small vehicle when the driver makes an error may be skidding off to the side of the road. However, the consequences of driver error when driving a truck are more severe. When a driver takes a curve too fast, speeds excessively or fails to monitor blind spots this could result in a collision, jackknifing or the truck rolling onto its side. Equipment problems – a common cause of truck accidents is mechanical or equipment failures. Manufacturing defects or design errors can result in an accident. Where equipment is not properly maintained this could lead to accidents. Mechanical problems can include depowering the front brakes so as to reduce the expense of the wear and tear of the tires and brakes. Failure to load and secure cargo properly could contribute to a truck rolling over. Where the trailer is not properly attached to the truck, this increases the chances and risks of the vehicle jackknifing.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Young Wooldridge

Strengthening Your Motorcycle Claim

Some of the most complicated forms of litigation are matters related to motorcycle accidents. This is due to the kind of injuries sustained during accidents and how the accidents happen. All these elements contribute to the complexity of the cases. This article will discuss what an injured person involved in a motorcycle accident can do to strengthen their case. Because of the complexities linked to motorcycle accidents, injury victims need to be aware of their rights and take appropriate steps in order to protect themselves. Some of these steps that they can take include the following: Medical treatment and attention – the majority of motorcycle accidents are very serious and result in serious injuries such as head trauma, traumatic brain injuries, or paralysis. It is not uncommon for a victim to become unconscious at the time they are transported to an emergency room. As a result, it is of the utmost importance that the injured victim stays in the hospital for as long as it is recommended by their health care provider. In instances where the injured individual is conscious at the scene of the accident, they should still be transported to a medical facility by emergency responders and describe their injuries to them. This is even the case where the accident injury victim has previously been in a similar motorcycle accident and wasn’t injured or believes that their injuries are not that serious. It is wise to still seek medical treatment. The benefit of this is that it helps establish the timing when the injury occurred as well as to link the injury to the accident. Once an individual has received medical attention, they should continue whatever treatment regimen they are to undergo. Whatever instructions are given to them by their doctor they should obey them to the letter. This includes such aspects as staying off work or not participating in certain activities until they have fully recovered. Before a motorcycle accident claim has been settled, often the victim must complete all necessary medical treatment or requirements. This allows us to determine the exact amount of damages. One tactic used by insurance companies is to deny or lower a claim by blaming the injured individual for not following medical advice. 911 – no matter the circumstances it is important that you call the police after the accident. By having a police presence this helps document the incident. In addition, the police report that is prepared likely has important information, such as who was responsible for the accident and if a citation was given to this person. Further, the police officer documents their observations of the scene of the accident. Wait to repair your bike – the majority of personal injury lawyers handling motorcycle accidents in Bakersfieldadvise that motorcycle owners forgo repairs. This is because the motorcycle itself is a big piece of the evidence. It provides information on the seriousness of the accident. In addition, damaged property helps with the victim’s claim. Take pictures – be sure to take pictures of your injuries, the damaged bike, other vehicles, road signs, weather conditions, etc.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Young Wooldridge

When the Road Causes Your Accident

The majority of car accidents involve other vehicles, and as a result it may be one or both drivers that are at fault for causing the accident. However, there are instances where a car accident is due to a faulty road, and other drivers may or may not share some responsibility. This article will discuss how to  know when road issues may be the cause of car accidents. There are a number of different road issues that may cause an accident. Some of these issues may include the following: Potholes Traffic cones Road construction Disintegrating bridges and roads Broken blocks of cement Failing to warn Failing to install traffic lights Obstructed road signs It must be noted that the life expectancy of a road is about 20 years. But if this period of time is exceeded without sufficient repair work, problems arise. Issues arise due to constant use, weathering and other factors; therefore, roads tend to deteriorate as time goes by. As a result, it becomes necessary for road construction and repair to take place. Unfortunately, such construction and repair require funding and the process of obtaining such funding takes time in itself, as does the actual completion of such repairs. Funding allows roads to be smooth and drivable, cleared of debris and insure that bridges are solid and passable. However, when road repairs take long and poor conditions prevail this may lead to multiple accidents that cause injuries or death. There are a number of dangers that lurk when road issues arise; and all these point to the cause of many vehicle accidents. Some common dangers that arise due to the disrepair of roads include the following: Unsound bridges – when bridges are not repaired, they pose a serious danger to groups of people. Once a bridge structure becomes unsound the bridge may either collapse completely, crushing whatever is under it or dropping whatever is on it. As a result, when a bridge becomes structurally deficient it requires immediate repair. Freeways and highways – these are the highest danger areas to all drivers because the presence of traffic itself is a potential danger, and due to the high speed limits. However, when these busy roads go into disrepair it increases accidents in frequency and scale. Common issues that are found on freeways and highways include potholes, crumbling edges, uneven lanes, drop offs onto shoulders and narrow shoulders. These issues may result in a driver losing control of their vehicle leading to a collision or multi-vehicle collision that can result in death or serious injury. The above focuses on the need for repairs, however, another danger that arises is when road repairs begin. Road construction and repair are often the cause of accidents. This happens when drivers try to avoid construction and end up swerving into pedestrians, construction workers or into other vehicles. It is even possible that materials that are being used in the construction and repair of roads may cause a driver to lose their vision of the road. At times a warning sign may be placed incorrectly, closed lanes may lead to accidents and the decrease in speed limits affects only those who follow them. When drivers continue speeding where there is a need to decrease speed, slower drivers become a hazard. If your accident was caused by a road hazard speak to car accident lawyers in Bakersfield, CA.    

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Young Wooldridge

Motorcycle Accident Damages

If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation by way of a personal injury claim. This statement is true in the case of motorcycle accidents. An individual is able to receive compensation by way of a motorcycle accident personal injury claim. There are a number of different types of damages that may be claimed in a motorcycle accident incident. This article will look at a few damages an individual involved in a motorcycle accident can recover in a personal injury claim When an individual is involved in an accident or collision where one of the vehicles is a motorcycle, such an individual should hire a Bakersfield motorcycle accident lawyer to pursue damages for their losses. The main reasons an individual seeks legal recovery is for property damage and injuries sustained during an accident. Motorcycle accidents are often characterized by serious or extensive injuries, as  well as complete damage to the bike itself. As a result, it is important to know which damages to seek in a personal injury claim. Generally, an injured victim is able to seek a number of different damages depending on what happened in the accident. For example, if the accident resulted in time away from work the individual may recover lost wages for this form of loss. Below are some common forms of damages that can be pursued in a motorcycle accident personal injury claim: Property damage – in most motorcycle accidents the bike suffers extensive damage. As a result, it may be necessary for the vehicle to be reconstructed, repaired or written off (“totalled”). The victim may be able to receive compensation for either one of these. The insurance company of the defendant may pay for the repairs or replacement of the motorcycle when the plaintiff wins their case. Pain and suffering – pain and suffering generally speaks to the emotional and psychological harm caused by the incident. This aspect of damages goes beyond the actual injury suffered by the victim. It is referred to as a non-economic damage as no set dollar amount can be put as an appropriate form of compensation. Rather, a calculation is made based on a number of different factors. Some of these factors include the pain suffered by the individual, their injuries, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of  life, emotional  distress and  disfigurement. Lost wages – while the victim is recovering from their injuries, they may not have the ability to work during this period. It may be that they require time in a hospital to receive physical therapy or surgery or it may be recommended that they take bed rest away from work in order to fully recover. It is not uncommon for victims to lose their jobs during these periods or need to take vacation time to cover the recovery period. Thus claiming for lost wages allows the victim to recover for any wage loss they may have suffered during the recovery process, as well as for income that is likely  to be lost into  the future. Medical treatment – damages linked to medical treatment include any medical expenses the victim has incurred as a result of their injuries. Medical treatment may also include future medical treatment that a doctor indicates is required by the victim.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

Determining Fault and Negligence in Your Injury Claim

In any personal injury case, the critical question asked at the outset is who was at fault. Fault is an essential aspect of any personal injury case because once it is determined, whoever I s at fault becomes responsible for paying damages or compensation. This article will discuss determining fault and the use of negligence to prove fault. According to one legal dictionary [Fault legal definition of fault (thefreedictionary.com)], fault is defined as “neglect of care, an act to which blame or censure is attached.” Fault can then rightfully be used interchangeably with liability. In a personal injury case, it is easy for person A involved in the incident, such as a car accident in Bakersfield CA [https://www.youngwooldridge.com/bakersfield-car-accident-attorney/], to decide that person B involved in the accident is at fault for the accident. While person B affected may blame person A and C, this brings about the question as to who determines the issue of fault in a personal injury case? The most straightforward answer to this question of fault is determined by the circumstances surrounding the case. To accurately decide who is at fault, an investigation into the case must be made to determine all potential parties at fault. All this is carried out by a personal injury attorney representing the plaintiff. The attorney will, if necessary, present the case to the defendant(s) or a court so that a determination  can be made about who is at fault. It is not uncommon for a party involved in an injury claim who is at fault to carry liability insurance. When there is liability insurance, the burden of paying a damages award or settling the case falls on the insurance company. More often than not, the insurance company will carry out its own investigation into the incident and make an independent decision as to which party is at fault. If there is a disagreement as to who is at fault, the injured person and their attorney may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit. This gives the court, whether jury or judge, the ultimate power of determining who is at fault. Most personal injury claims are a result of an act or acts of negligence. Negligence is defined by the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute [Negligence | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)] as “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the circumstances.” Negligence entails an act that falls below the standard of care expected of a reasonable person, which results in the harm of another person. To show the fault of a person using negligence, four elements must be proven.  These elements are: Duty of care – There must exist a legal duty owed to the plaintiff by the defendant. For example, all vehicle drivers owe a duty of care to other road users. Breach – It must be proven that the defendant breached their legal duty of care  by acting unreasonably. Causation – The breach of the defendant’s duty of care must cause harm. For example, while running a red light, the defendant sideswiped plaintiff’s car. Damages – there must be actual damages or losses suffered as a result of the incident. For example, medical bills, lost wages, property damage, etc.  

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