With the New Year upon us, Californians need to be aware of several new laws that have now taken effect. The nearly 800 new 2013 laws are wide ranging, and cover areas as diverse as drunk driving to sales tax hikes. If you have questions about any of the new laws and how they may affect you, it's a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable Sacramento personal injury attorney to answer your questions and give you the guidance you need regarding California laws.
A number of the new laws involve cars and drivers. For example drivers will now be allowed to provide proof of car insurance via cell-phone or other electronic device. This eliminates the requirement that you carry proof of insurance in the car.
Another law, SB 1303 concerns red-light cameras. As of 2013, law enforcement may not use red light cameras primarily as a way to raise revenue. The law makes it easier for California drivers ticketed as the result of evidence collected by a red-light camera to challenge the citation.
Drivers will also be allowed to take advantage of advances made in technology. AB 1536 allows California drivers to send, dictate and listen to text-based messages while driving as long as they use voice-command or other hands-free technology.
Another significant law is AB 45 - named after 19-year-old Brett Studebaker of San Mateo, who died in 2010 after drinking on a party bus and crashing his own vehicle while driving home an hour later. It holds party bus operators to the same standards as limousine drivers, making them legally responsible for drinking by underage passengers.
Other laws to take effect in 2013 involve worker's rights when they've been injured. In 2012 California lawmakers worked hard to overhaul the California's public pension and worker's compensation system. As a result of legislative hard work, SB 863 increases the amount of money available to employees who suffer permanent disabilities as the result of job-related accidents by $740 million. Depending on the particular circumstances, on-the-job injuries can be covered by Workers' Compensation laws, by tort law or by both. An experienced personal injury attorney can decide on the most productive way to approach your case.
Although workers compensation benefits are often lower than those obtained in a civil lawsuit (such as a claim for negligence) with the increased amount of money set aside for on the job accidents, hopefully the recovery obtained by those injured will increase.
Other laws adopted include the following:
• Some undocumented immigrants may be able to obtain driver's licenses and qualify for California college financial aid. This includes individuals who came here as children and who were given work permits by the Obama administration.
• Banning individuals from carrying unloaded rifles and shotguns in public and urban areas.
• Regulated and licensing certain "microbrews" aged in wood barrels as beer throughout California.
• Attempts to make stadiums and sports arenas safer (in response to the horrible personal injuries suffered by Brian Stow) by requiring arena management to post contact information for security personnel that is visible from seating and parking areas so help can be summoned quickly when injuries or violence occurs.
These are but a few of the hundreds of new laws that took effect Jan. 1.
For more information or if you have questions contact the experienced California personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate appointment.