James E. Ballidis
Huntington Beach residents offered opposing opinions in response to recent news that the city would begin charging nonresidents for emergency services. In the near future, if a visitor to the city causes a car accident, he or she will be charged $595 for spilt vehicle fluids, such as oil and gasoline; $750 for car fires; and almost $2,000 for extraction from a vehicle. The city intends to bill the negligent, nonresident driver’s automobile insurance company; if the driver does not have insurance, he or she will be billed directly.
“These fees will end up being paid out-of-pocket,” predicted an Orange County accident lawyer, “as insurance companies will not cover them.”
With an estimated 10 to 13 million tourists visiting Huntington Beach every summer—resulting in approximately 300 traffic accidents annually—the city hopes the new fees will increase its revenue by $100,000.
Responses to the new law have been divided. In a recent Los Angeles Times article, Councilman Devin Dwyer expressed his opposition to the law, suggesting that insurance rates will increase as a result of the emergency service fees, impacting everyone in the end.
One resident approved of Huntington Beach’s decision to hold visitors accountable for these services.
Another commented that the revenue the city brings in from tourists patronizing local businesses, sales tax, and parking fees greatly outweighs the estimated $100,000 expected to come from the new fees. He went on to add that the new law could cause a decline in tourism.
“Other Orange County cities are likely to follow Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, and Santa Ana in charging nonresidents for emergency services as increasing budget cuts accompany the economic recession we are currently experiencing,” noted an Orange County accident lawyer.
James Ballidis is an Orange County accident lawyer specializing in automobile accident claims, a subject that he has also written numerous articles about. To discuss your rights and options after an accident or to request a copy of one of his articles, feel free to call 866-981-5596.
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