September 28, 2018
Do You Really Understand Your Auto Insurance Coverage?
Many people do not like to discuss insurance issues. It is difficult to understand the lingo in the insurance field. Insurance is viewed as a necessary evil in today’s society, but many people do not understand the critical points about why insurance coverage is so important. It is not until an accident occurs that the insurance topic comes to the forefront for discussion. As private citizens we protect ourselves, our homes, and cars with insurance. What many people forget to do is to review their insurance policies on a regular basis (at least once a year, hopefully with a broker) to make sure they are carrying enough coverage, and more importantly the proper coverages. A great insurance broker is worth their weight in gold. A great insurance broker is one who will explain ALL coverage options that you can have under the policy, and which ones make sense for your particular situation. In my law practice, the biggest problem we see is when a person buys an auto insurance policy when they began to drive and essentially keep the same level of coverage for the next twenty years. But during those twenty years, assets were acquired, savings went up, as did annual salaries. Why is this significant? As you gain more assets, earnings, dependents, and wealth, you need more insurance coverage. That means increasing your coverage is a necessity, or adding umbrella policies (additional coverage above your standard auto and home insurance) both personal and business. Don't leave yourself exposed! Don't learn this lesson after the fact.
In addition to increasing your own personal liability coverages, I also recommend increasing your uninsured motorist coverage, which also serves as underinsured coverage. This is critically important to understand. This particular coverage is crucial to protect the occupants of your own vehicle, as well as yourself, from uninsured drivers or underinsured drivers. An underinsured driver is one who generally carries a bare minimum liability policy and causes a major accident resulting in catastrophic injures. In this scenario, the only way to protect yourself, and the people riding in your vehicle, is to carry a large uninsured/underinsured motorist policy on your own auto insurance. This type of coverage allows you to recover the minimal policy from the offending driver then seek recovery from your own insurance in the amount of coverage your purchased on your own auto policy. It is a bit confusing, but so important to ask your insurance agent to explain. Since opening my practice in the High Desert 20 years ago, I have witnessed a high percentage of uninsured/underinsured drivers getting into accidents, leaving the injured victims to have to fend for themselves. It is not a pleasant topic to discuss, but you have to be prepared for these types of scenarios because it is happening every day all around California. The idea is not to leave yourself exposed to an auto accident disaster without the proper insurance coverages.
November 11, 2016
Now that Marijuana is Legal - Don't be Stupid PART 2
VC 23152(e) DUI Marijuana:
The legal definition consists of the following "elements of the crime":
1. Driving a vehicle;
2. Under the influence of marijuana;
3. When the driver's mental or physical abilities are so impaired by marijuana that s/he is unable to operate the vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances.
To test for THC impairment authorities start with a field sobriety test. If you fail, that gives them probable cause to arrest you. For Marijuana, using blood or urine tests to determine whether a person is under the influence of THC at the time they were driving is a flawed system, as blood and urine tests are unable to determine whether Marijuana was consumed within the last few hours. There is also testing using drug swabs of saliva, but there can be traces of some drugs in your saliva up to three days after consuming them. This leaves plenty of room for doubt in a court room.
Unlike alcohol, there is no "per se" amount of marijuana in the bloodstream that can be used to establish impairment under VC 23152(e). Tests for marijuana reveal whether or not there is some marijuana in your system. At present, however, they cannot establish how much marijuana you consumed, or even how recently you consumed it. More importantly, there is no expert consensus as to how much marijuana is sufficient to impair one's ability to drive. HOWEVER studies in Europe and followed by Colorado have set the threshold at 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood as the legal limit for impaired driving. Look for California to follow this example. Many feel this threshold is too low and that a daily marijuana consumer can have 5 nanograms in their system at any given time. To convict you of a marijuana DUI, chemical test results are just one piece of evidence the prosecutor can use to show you drove impaired. Erratic driving and bad performance on the field sobriety test can lead to a conviction of driving under the influence.
If there is any question, it is just a good idea to not drive while under the influence of ANY amount of marijuana.
November 9, 2016
Now that Marijuana is Legal - Don't be Stupid
The national movement to legalize marijuana was approved by California Voters yesterday with the passage of Proposition 64. With that being said, we are still a society of laws designed to protect our citizens. The primary law that I recommend you abide by is not to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. People are now going to try to guess when they are impaired after smoking marijuana. It's simple, if you smoke marijuana just don't drive. Marijuana remains in your system for a period of time and the burn off rate is different for different body types. If a police officer believes you are impaired you will go to jail for a blood test.
It is better to be safe than sorry and just don't drive after smoking marijuana. A DUI conviction sits on your record for ten years, meaning any other charges in the ten year period will be charged as a second offense carrying mandatory jail time. The fine is over $1700, you will also have a four month license suspension, you will have to attend a first conviction program class that last four months (additional cost of approx. $450) and your insurance rates will go up. So even though Marijuana is now legal in California, don't be stupid!
The lawyers in our firm are ready to answer any questions you might have or if you need a lawyer for a DUI or other drug related offence, call my office 760-245-7781.
July 17th, 2015
Summer is here; discuss driving tips with your family
Summer has arrived and school is out. There are many more children playing in our neighborhood streets giving rise to drivers to be more cautious. This means discipline for drivers to work on less driving distractions. There has been a lot in the news about distracted teen drivers, while a significant demographic, the problem does not rest with them alone. Distractions for drivers come in a wide variety of interferences. I am writing this article to alert clients but to also remind myself not to slip into a distraction while driving because it is so easy to do.
Of course the cell phone is the biggest lure into distraction in my car. My hands free system is set up but is not a full guarantee to prevent all distractions. I remind myself to use my Siri to look up numbers so I am not doing it. No texting is the most obvious warning with the phone. A quick view of a text is all that is needed to hit a little child playing on the side of the road. A full car of people can also serve as a distraction that you are not aware of. You as the driver can not be the center of attention while driving. Any deviation of the driver’s attention puts everyone at risk in the vehicle as well as other pedestrians and other drivers. Whether it be a cell phone, playing with the radio, eating or drinking while driving, interacting with passengers including babies, looking for an address playing with your navigation system, all potentially deadly. Our fancy dashboards provide an array of distractions if we let them.
We have all seen the tragic commercials where a teenager sends a sister or friend a text while that person was driving which resulted in the fatality. Take to heart the seconds of distraction that led to death. The deterrent is there, just each one of us must take it to heart - it can save a life. The problem is very apparent with teenagers but also affects all drivers. Initiate a family discussion with all the drivers in the house of such risks; include your non drivers so they too can learn before they get behind the wheel.
Let's all have a safe summer!
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MY CASE WAS MESSY AND INVOLVED A LOCAL NIGHTCLUB. MR VONDRA TOOK MY CASE AND RESOLVED MATTERS WITHIN DAYS. HE WAS DIRECT,TO THE POINT AND HONEST. YOU CAN TRUST HIM-DONT BELIEVE ALL THOSE JOKES ABOUT CROOKED ATTORNEYS-BECAUSE THEY ARENT TRUE!!!!!! HE COMES HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO ME TO ALL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY!!! THANKYOU MR VONDRA AND FIRM!!! DSD
I love the HONESTY and the time to answer what ever question's you have and how your not just a client your a person and they take you seriously. I would totally use Vonda and Hanna again as well as recommend them.
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I was attacked by neighbors dogs near Victorville, I went to an attorney in Alhambra that had the case for 3 years! ( btw I never met the attorney -staff said he's like 70+ years old) and he either sold to another lawyer or ??? who (also 70+?) finally met me during the last 6 months of the 3 years, and said I needed to settle for $15,000 when I declined the attorney dropped my case which caused the insurance company to then offer $2,000 and they flooded me with additonal legal paperwork discovery to get me to drop the case. I was in a tough spot with trial date looming and very lucky Phil Vondra met me, reviewed and took my case and within a few weeks got a settlement double the original "recommended" amount. on a side note we also talked about other matters and he helped with advice/referrals
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The tip of my daughter's nose was bitten off (literally) by a dog before we moved to Apple Valley. When we got the settlement offer, we took it to Vondra for his opinion as to whether it was fair or not. He believed that they were (naturally) trying to underpay her, so he took on her case. Since she was a minor, he charged us 5% less than the regular fee and only took his fee from whatever he could win above the original offer. His office always answered our questions, returned our calls, and kept us apprised of the proceedings. Phil was always professional and realistic about the possible outcome; at no time he ever mislead us. He did win an additional $50,000 for her and we were impressed with all the work that he and his staff did.
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