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car accident, Los AngelesA recent personal injury case that was heard in Los Angeles Superior Court demonstrates a legal concept that is called the eggshell plaintiff rule as well as the difficulties with proving injuries in minor impact soft tissue cases. People who have received soft tissue injuries such as whiplash injuries or others in accidents that were caused by the negligence of other people might need to get help from an experienced personal injury attorney.

Factual background of the case

A 65-year-old unemployed student was driving his Chrysler 300 on Feb. 16, 2012, in the number one lane of the Southbound Harbor Freeway. His vehicle was hit from behind by the defendant, who was working at the time of the accident. His vehicle had minor damage. When the police arrived, the man said that he was not injured and refused an ambulance. After the accident, the man went and took a final exam in one of his classes. Four days later, he went to see a chiropractor and continued treatment for 30 sessions before being discharged from treatment on May 26, 2012. Before being discharged from chiropractic care, the man had MRIs performed on his neck and lower back.

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Biker Crash, Injury, Lawyer, Los Angeles

Steven M. Sweat, APC has been helping injured bikers in Los Angeles and California for over 20 years.

In a recent case in Los Angeles County (L.A. Superior Court Case No. BC553756), a jury returned a verdict of $3.7 million in a case involving a motorist and a motorcyclist who was lane-splitting at the time of the accident. The case demonstrates the legal concept of comparative negligence in California. With the passage of the new lane-splitting bill, the new rules could potentially impact how comparative negligence is determined by juries in the state.

Factual background of the case

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Target Stores, Accidents, Injuries, Attorneys, CaliforniaA recent California case involving a woman who was injured when she tripped over an unattended ladder in Target demonstrates both the business’s knowledge requirement as well as its duty to remove hazards, keeping the premises reasonably safe. In the case, an 83-year-old woman tripped over the ladder, fracturing her hip.

Factual background

An 83-year-old woman was shopping at a Target in Escondido, California, on Dec. 8, 2014. As she was walking down one aisle, she tripped over a 23-inch-tall stepladder that had a 4-foot handle. A worker had left the stepladder unattended. The fall caused her hip to fracture. She filed a lawsuit against Target based on a theory of premises liability on Feb. 11, 2015.

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Jim Carrey, Lawsuit, Death, GirlfriendOn September 19, news broke that Jim Carrey is being sued in California for wrongful death by his girlfriend’s estranged husband. Carrey’s girlfriend, Cathriona White, committed suicide in September 2015 by overdosing on several different types of prescription medications. She had married Mark Burton in Las Vegas in 2013 but had dated Carrey for a couple of years afterward without divorcing Burton. Burton is thus her next-of-kin and has made multiple salacious allegations against Carrey in his lawsuit. While a media storm may have ignited, there are multiple reasons why Burton’s case will be very difficult to prove.

Legal standard for bringing a wrongful death claim in California

A wrongful death claim may be made when a person’s death directly resulted from the wrongful actions or negligence of another person. The wrongful death claim may be an intentional tort, which could be filed in the case of murder, or a negligence tort, which could follow a fatal collision.

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Construction Site, Accidents, Injury, Death, Attorney, CaliforniaA recent construction site accident wrongful death Los Angeles County case and jury verdict illustrate several important topics, including cases in which several parties share liability in causing workplace accidents, workers’ compensation and the liability of third parties in workplace accidents. The case (Rosa Gonzalez, et.al. v. Atlas Construction Supply – L.A. Superior Court Case No. BC 507755) involved a man who was killed while working on a construction site in 2011.

Factual background of the case

On Aug. 2, 2011, a 30-year-old man was working at the Hyperion Treatment Plant, a wastewater facility located in Playa del Rey that handles the municipal water for the City of Los Angeles. The city commissioned a construction project at the facility, hiring USS Cal Builders as the general contractor for the work to replace a gas compressor facility that was 60 years old. USS Cal Builders hired Atlas Construction Supply, Inc. to build the concrete walls using concrete forms. The man, who was employed by USS Cal Builders, was standing on top of one of the forms when it collapsed, causing him to fall 30 feet to the ground. A portion of the wall collapsed on top of him, causing a catastrophic head injury. He was killed in the accident, and his family filed a lawsuit against Atlas Construction Supply, Inc.

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Californians are sometimes injured by people who are working at the time of their accidents, including public employees. Both private and public employers may be held to be liable for the actions of their employees in certain situations. A recent case, Jonathan Soto v. City of Long Beach, BC 559317, that was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court demonstrates the principle of vicarious liability for public employees.

Case background

On Feb. 4, 2014, Jonathan Soto, a 66-year-old man who was retired, fell asleep on the beach close to the 5400 block of Ocean Boulevard around 10 a.m. While he was sleeping, a city employee with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine was driving a city truck on the beach, picking up trash as a part of his job. The driver, Stanley Willie Delaney, also had a passenger in his vehicle. Failing to see Soto, Delaney ran over him. Soto was seriously injured and suffered a broken pelvis and fractures to his lumbar vertebrae numbers one through four. Soto filed his lawsuit against the City of Long Beach and against Delaney on Oct. 1, 2014.

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Jeep Rollover, Wrongful Death, Los AngelesOn June 19, 2016 actor Anton Yelchin was killed in a rollaway car accident in the driveway of his Studio City, California home. Mr. Yelchin, most famous for playing Chekov in the new Star Trek movies, had parked his Jeep Cherokee in his driveway, exited the vehicle and walked down the driveway to check for mail in his mailbox. At this same time, the Jeep came out of gear, rolled backwards, and pinned Mr. Yelchin between the Jeep and the large brick mailbox pillar, killing him instantly.

Three days later, on April 22, 1918, the manufacturers of the Jeep Cherokee, Fiat Chrysler, issued a formal recall on all 2014-2015 Grand Cherokees, 2012-2014 Dodge Chargers, and 2012-2014 Chrysler 300’s because the electronic gear systems needed to have a part added to them for safety reasons.

Wrongful Death Suit and Class Action Lawsuits Filed

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Dangerous Intersection, Los Angeles, Death, Lawsuit
A recent case in Los Angeles, California (Lani Guillmete, et.al. vs. City of Los Angeles, et. al. – L.A. Superior Court Case Number BC523080)  illustrates the responsibility cities hold to take action once they learn that intersections or roadways are in dangerous conditions. If a city does nothing to correct the problem and someone is seriously injured or killed because of it, the city may be held liable to pay damages for the losses caused by the accident.

Background of the case

On Feb. 27, 2013, Thomas Guilmette, a 59-year-old rocket scientist, was riding his motorcycle on Summerland in San Pedro, California. Another man was driving his vehicle on Cabrillo when he tried to turn left onto Summerland, striking the rocket scientist and killing him. The defendant motorist had an obstructed view to his left and was unable to see the scientist because of a row of parked cars. The city did not have any no-parking signs in the area and allowed vehicles to park near the intersection despite the obstruction in vision. The decedent’s wife and son sued the city in a wrongful death civil lawsuit. The motorist was found to not be liable for the accident.

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Autonomous Vehicles, Self Driving Cars, Moral DilemmaIs there a moral dilemma for self-driving cars?  As the time nears when autonomous cars may make a full entry into the marketplace, ethical questions regarding their programming may impact both public safety and the actual adoption by the public of autonomous cars. In 2015, 4.5 million people were seriously injured and almost 40,000 people were killed in traffic accidents. A large number of the accidents that occur every year are due to human error. The thought about autonomous cars is that removing the potential for human error will drastically cut down the injury and fatality rates by preventing accidents. A recent study shows a moral dilemma that exists when autonomous cars would be forced to make decisions about protecting the safety of their occupants or instead those of pedestrians.

A question of the public good versus self-sacrifice: The study

Researchers in the U.S. and France were interested in exploring an ethical dilemma that could arise when autonomous cars are programmed. Specifically, when the cars encounter situations in which the cars could act in order to preserve the lives of their passengers or instead to preserve the lives of pedestrians were studied. The researchers surveyed 2,000 participants, a majority of whom agreed that they thought cars programmed to save the greatest number of people over protecting the passengers in the vehicles was a good idea. However, when they were presented with the idea of actually purchasing a vehicle that was programmed with such a utilitarian purpose, a majority then stated that they would not want to own a car that was not programmed to protect them and their families regardless of how many other lives could be potentially lost.

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Bicycle Accident, CaliforniaA recent jury verdict in Santa Cruz County shows how bicycle accidents may involve more than one vehicle, and if the second driver fails to take action to avoid hitting the cyclist, the second driver may be held to be civilly liable and ordered to pay damage for his or her percentage of fault.

Background of the case

The case involved a wrongful death case in which a farmworker who was riding his bicycle to work was first struck by a car. After landing in the middle of the lane, the man was reportedly talking and moaning. He was then run over by a Ford F-150 that crushed his head and his chest with its tires. The driver of the first car said that the bicyclist had veered in front of him, making the initial collision unavoidable. People who stopped in an effort to help the man after the first crash reported that they had tried to direct traffic away from the man in order to alert other drivers that he was lying in the roadway before the truck hit him. The man’s wife and adult children filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against the driver of the Ford F-150.

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