eye injury, lawyer, attorney, California, Los AngelesInjuries to the eyes are very serious and often can be hard to treat. The eye is a very delicate organ and the bone and muscle structure around the eye can easily be damaged. Injuries to the eyes can lead to changes in physical appearance of the face, changes to vision, and possibly blindness.

Types Of Eye Injuries And Their Causes

The most common injuries that occur to an eye are objects that pierce the eye during a fall or in an accident. The second leading cause of eye injuries is blunt trauma that causes damage to the eyes or the orbital socket area surrounding the eyeball. Blunt trauma to the eye is commonly associated with a slip and fall incident or being hit in the face during an altercation.

According to a report that was presented to the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 2015 conducted by research students at John Hopkins University, over 45,000 serious eye injuries occurred during the previous 10 years. This study only recorded information about eye injuries that required emergency hospital care.

Information in this study showed that there were over 8,000 eye injuries attributed to blunt trauma to the eye caused in a physical altercation. In people age 60 and over, almost 8,500 eye injuries were recorded during a slip and fall event. Eye injuries from falling down stairs were recorded nearly 1,000 times.

Other injuries included having an object enter the eye. Of these events, the leading cause of having an object enter the eye was during a fight, followed by shrapnel during a vehicular accident. Childhood accidents while carrying sharp objects came in last place..

Recent studies by the insurance industry reveal the leading causes of injury claims related to damage to the eyes.  Overall, the leading causes of eye injuries were physical confrontations (fighting or being attacked) and slip and fall accidents (i.e. brawls and falls).

California Standard For Premises Liability And Negligent Security

California Civil Code 1714 states that an owner of a property, private or public, has the responsibility for keeping the property safe for anyone that enters that property by invitation. What this means is that a person or business owner is obligated to make their property safe for you to use if they “invite” you to that property. Inviting can mean everything from a personal social call to being open to the public to conduct business.

Keeping the property safe means that it should be free from objects that may cause you harm, including things that could hamper your ability to walk, such as broken pavement, loose rugs or tiles, or cluttered pathways. It also means that the property owner has a responsibility to keep the property well-lit and protected by security measures if necessary o ensure that visitors are safe.

For instance, if a person is attacked in the parking lot of a business in the evening, the business owner may be responsible for the event if:

• The parking lot was not properly lit to protect visitors.
• The area is known as a high crime area and proper safety devices, such as CCTV or even a security guard was not posted to protect visitors.
• The landscaping around the parking lot was kept in a manner making it easy for a person to lay-in-wait and attacks someone in the parking lot.
Any injuries sustained by that person in the parking lot are the responsibility of the business owner under California Premises Liability Laws.

Under the same guidelines, a business or property owner would be held responsible for a slip and fall injury to a person visiting the property if:

• The property owner failed to maintain the walkways in a manner that is safe, such as eliminating cracks and holes in the pavement and keeping walkways well-lit.
• Property owner fails to maintain stairs and elevator areas to ensure the safety of all those who use these devices to move from one floor to another.
• Debris and other clutter is left intentionally in walkways which causes the visitor to have to walk in abnormal patterns to avoid the debris, leading to a fall.

Premises liability is a very broad law and anyone who has been injured while visiting a property not their own may be entitled to receive compensation.

Your Right To Seek Compensation For An Eye Injury

If you have received an eye injury as the result of a negligent act of another person or entity, you are encouraged to speak with a personal injury attorney about your rights to seek compensation for your losses.

Your attorney will explain to you the types of compensation that you can seek under California law and the provisions of the insurance policy covering the event. Your attorney will protect your rights as a victim of negligence and seek full and complete compensation on your behalf from the responsible party.

Proving Financial Damages in California Injury CasePeople who sustain catastrophic injuries in accidents often have their lives changed for a long time—if not permanently. In order to recover, a victim must prove the value of their damages.1 The following are examples of evidence that a California accident attorney can use to prove damages after a catastrophic injury:

Past medical expenses and lost income – The financial losses that you have already incurred are often the easiest type of damages to prove in a personal injury case. For example, medical bills can concretely indicate how much your treatment cost and paystubs and timesheets can show how much work and income you lost. However, if the other party questions whether all of your treatments or time off work were necessary, you may need a medical or occupational expert to testify regarding your injuries. Additionally, if the opposing party disputes the severity or cause of your injury, your doctor may have to testify to your diagnosis.

Future medical costs and lost income – Proving the estimated losses you will likely incur in the future due to your injuries is slightly more complex. A medical professional can testify to your prognosis and the necessary future treatment for your recovery, as well as the usual cost of those treatments. If you are unable to return to your previous job, an occupational expert can assess your work abilities—if any—to determine your future earning capabilities. This can then be used by economic experts who can use inflation2 and other calculations to determine your future lost earning ability, income, benefits, and more. 

Intangible losses – Catastrophic injuries can often cause extensive pain and suffering, permanent disabilities, impairments, disfigurement, emotional issues, and more. Fortunately, the law provides for compensation to victims for such intangible losses, which are known as general damages. The evidence to prove such intangible losses can vary widely and can include expert testimony, personal notes and journals, testimony from close family or friends regarding your physical and emotional state, and more. 

It is important to have a California accident attorney on your side who knows how to accurately calculate damages to ensure that you receive the full amount you deserve following a catastrophic injury.

Steven M. Sweat, APC
5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 450
Los Angeles, CA  90036




Los Angeles, Freeway, Accident, Attorney, LawyerLos Angeles is the proud home of many notable landmarks and accomplishments. However, it is also the home of some of the world’s most dangerous highways, freeways, and intersections.

While the city is notorious for its legendary all day traffic jams, it can also be a source of extreme peril for motorists who are unaware of just what they are driving into.

The Most Dangerous Freeway Interchange In Los Angeles

The interchange that marks the boundary between the 57 and 60 freeways has seen more than its share of accidents over the years, and has only gotten more dangerous in recent times. Much of the mayhem can be attributed to the overwhelming volume of long haul trucks that converges at this crowded interchange.

The number of accidents that involved collisions with these big rigs has been cited as a shocking 250 over the course of the past three years. And the number of trucks that use this dangerous interchange is expected to increase from an average of 26,000 to a total of 44,000 by the year 2035.

Of course, there are other issues besides huge trucks for motorists to contend with at this dangerous interchange. A projected restoration project, which calls for the building of much needed off-ramp and bypass roads to relieve the congested area, is projected to begin in 2016, but is still beset with planning and funding issues that may leave motorists in continued jeopardy for many years to come.

Highway 138: L.A.’s Infamous “Death Road”

Another notorious road in the Greater Los Angeles area is Highway 138, which runs from Interstate 15 to Palmdale. Long nicknamed by motorists as the “Death Road”, this highway has racked up over 60 fatalities and 875 injuries in the past two decades. During the peak of the carnage, the narrow two lane highway was claiming the lives of nearly one dozen motorists per year.

Although a recent course of renovations, which involved widening out the lanes and adding extra sight lines and warning signs near the most dangerous areas, has considerably improved safety conditions, Highway 138 remains a road to be reckoned with.

Interstate 710: A Short But Potentially Deadly Drive

Another notorious and potentially deadly trouble spot in the Greater Los Angeles area is Interstate 710. Although this road stretches for a mere 20 miles across the metropolitan area, it has racked up more than its share of injuries and fatalities over the last decade.

In the year 2013 alone, 7 accidents, resulting in 8 fatalities, have been reported along this narrow and crowded strip of highway. As a result, Interstate 710 was duly noted as one of several California highways that made the list of “Top Ten Most Dangerous American Highways”, as compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Why Is Highway Safety At Such An All Time Low?

In answer to the question of just why highway safety in California seems to be an all time low, there are several answers that can be given. The main reason is budgetary concerns.

While the state wrestles with rising energy costs, concerns over increasing drought, and issues over immigration and taxation, a paralyzing sense of gridlock has made it harder than ever for law makers to focus on pressing issues, such as maintaining and repairing our roads and highways.

As a result, it seems that motorists are being increasingly exposed to worsening conditions on the road, and left to fend for themselves as best they can in the event of a vehicle related injury.

What Can You Do When The Bills Begin To Mount Up?

If you have recently been involved in an automobile accident anywhere in the Greater Los Angeles area, chances are good that you have received injuries that need urgent medical attention.

In addition to the bills you unfortunately rack up while recovering in the hospital, there is also the pressing issue of income that you lose while missing days or weeks off from your job.

What do you do when the bills begin to mount up and there is no fresh income coming in? As it turns out, there is a solution you can call upon to get your problems addressed and solved.

If You’ve Been Injured, Now Is The Time To Make Your Claim

If you have received injuries as the result of an auto accident, whether at any of the above mentioned locations or anywhere else in the Greater Los Angeles area, now is the time to make your claim.

A personal injury attorney can help you navigate the sometimes rocky road from receiving your injuries to getting the full settlement that you desire and deserve.

If you would like to arrange for an obligation free consultation with a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney, please click here for additional information.

Injury attorney describes car accidents in CaliforniaAfter a traffic collision, a fall, or any other type of accident, most victims wonder whether should discuss their case with an attorney. Unfortunately, if their injuries do not seem to be serious, many accident victims fail to consult with a California accident attorney because they assume their injuries are not worth a legal case. In many situations, this is a mistake, however, and victims lose out on valuable compensation for their losses.

Attorneys can help with insurance settlements

Even though filing a lawsuit may not be necessary for many victims with relatively minor injuries, that does not mean an attorney cannot be of important assistance. In such cases, the responsible party’s insurance company will likely make an offer for a lump sum settlement to reimburse you for your medical expenses and other related financial costs of your injury. However, insurance companies are businesses and they strive to avoid liability whenever possible. This means that they often offer less than a victim deserves to see if they will accept the offer.

For this reason, you should never accept an insurance settlement without having an experienced California personal injury lawyer review the offer first. An attorney will evaluate your losses and advise you on whether the offer is appropriate for your injuries and expenses. If it is not, they can communicate with the insurance company to help you obtain the offer you deserve.

Injuries can worsen over time

After an accident, you may believe that you are simply sore and do not have serious injuries. However, the signs and symptoms of injuries such as whiplash,1 sprains and strains,2 and other neck and back injuries may not be immediately apparent and may arise over the days following the accident. Additionally, complications from these injuries may arise over time, increasing the losses you face for medical expenses and lost income. It is always important to undergo a medical evaluation after an accident even if you believe you are not injured to diagnose any possible conditions. Additionally, even if your injuries are minor, you should never hesitate to schedule a free consultation with an experienced California accident lawyer as soon as possible.

For more information, please visit:  http://www.victimslawyer.com/car-accidents/



Truck Accident, Attorney, CaliforniaAccording to sources, a jury in Alameda County recently returned a verdict of $13.7 million for the families of three people who were killed in a truck accident. The verdict was handed down on Friday, Oct. 9 in a case filed against three truck drivers and the trucking companies for whom they worked. Two of the companies were found to be liable, while the third was not.

Facts of the Case

The crash happened on Highway 152 near its intersection with Road 16 on Nov. 27, 2012 in foggy conditions. A Western Milling truck attempted to turn left across the freeway, spanning two lanes. Evidence presented at the trial demonstrated that visibility at the time of the accident was reduced to under 200 feet.

A second truck, carrying a load of cotton bales for Semper Trucking, was driving in the opposite direction. That driver hit the back-end of the Western Milling truck, causing the Semper truck to overturn and lose its load of cotton bales. Then, an oncoming Well Trucking truck driver crashed into one of the cotton bales and lost control. That driver then crossed the highway’s median into the eastbound lanes of the highway and struck a Honda Accord head-on. All three occupants of the car were killed.

The Plaintiffs and Defendants

The three that were killed were 54-year-old Thanh Nguyen, 45-year-old Thuy Dang and 48-year-old Quoc Dang. They were commuting from San Jose, where they had recently relocated, to their jobs working in nail salons in Dinuba. Thanh Nguyen left behind three children, Thuy Dang left behind her husband and two children and Quoc Dang left behind his wife and two children. The spouses and children of the victims filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against all three trucking companies and the truck drivers who were driving for them.

The Verdict

After deliberating, the jury found that the Western Milling company and their truck driver held 75 percent liability in causing the accident. Semper Trucking and its driver was found to be not liable. Well Trucking and its driver were found to be 25 percent liable in causing the fatal accident.

High Incidence of Truck Accidents in Central California

This accident was just one of many large truck accidents occurring in central California. The fertile valley and its agricultural products draws a heavy volume of large trucks to the region. These trucks pick up agricultural products and then transport them to other points throughout California, traveling on the central Californian highways.

According to the California Highway Patrol, or CHP, 278 people were killed and another 7,511 were injured in California truck accidents in 2013 alone. A review of the data by county reveals that most central California counties had higher accident and injury rates than other areas of the state, with the exception of Los Angeles. This is because of the central valley’s need for shipping of its agricultural products.

What to Do If You or a Loved One Is Involved in a Truck Accident

Many factors can lead to a large truck accident, including excessive speed, improper left turns, inattention and more. When these accidents happen, victims and their families are often left struggling with the shock of the accident as well as with substantial economic and noneconomic losses. The physical forces involved in a large truck accident, due to their large size and tremendous weight, make these accidents potentially much more catastrophic than other accident types.

If you or a family member has been involved in an accident with a large truck, you might need to seek out legal help. A personal injury attorney can help by identifying all of the defendants that should be named and then drafting the complaint on your behalf. They can then negotiate with the insurance companies and other attorneys to seek a maximum recovery for you. In the event it is not possible to reach a reasonable settlement in your case, your attorney will then litigate the matter through jury trial for you. If you have been injured or your loved one has been killed in such an accident, call a trucking accident attorney for help today.

Driving Under the Influence, Marijuana, California, Accident, Attorney

Drug Impaired Driving Accidents in California are becoming more and more of a problem.  Recent studies conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association show that motor vehicle collisions where drivers are found to be under the influence of illegal narcotics or other drugs have significantly risen in the last decade. These studies have found that 40 percent of all people involved in a car wreck are under the influence of some type of drug. In addition, the study reveals that nearly 64 percent of all fatal car crashes involve the use of drugs.

This study takes into account all legal and illegal drug use. However, marijuana use is the highest reported substance at almost 35 percent, followed by amphetamines (a common drug used for ADD treatments and found in some diet medications) at almost 10 percent. The rest of the drugs that were discovered ranged from pain medications to prescription cough syrups.

Why California Drivers Should Be Alarmed

With such a significant increase in drug related crashes, residents of California must take into account that the state is considering legalizing the recreational use of this drug. Medical marijuana is already available in the state, but if it is legalized for recreational use, the potential for people driving under the influence of this drug significantly increases.

This study already shows that almost 35 percent of drug related crashes involved the use of marijuana. With only three states currently allowing the recreational use of marijuana, this percentage has the potential of increasing phenomenally with each state that decriminalizes the recreational use of this drug.

The Dangers Of Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs

Since there are so many drugs that have the potential to cause impaired driving, many researchers are focusing on the effects of marijuana on drivers. They have discovered that people under the influence of marijuana drive slower than other drivers, which can lead to hindering traffic. It has also been discovered that the reaction time of people under the influence of marijuana is half that of someone who is not intoxicated. This inability to react to situations on the road is perhaps the largest cause of the accidents.

Prescription medications, especially pain killers, can also cause drivers to be too intoxicated to drive. Many people believe, however, that because they are prescribed that they are safe to use while operating a vehicle. As a guideline, if a medication has the potential to cause drowsiness, drivers should avoid operating a motor vehicle.

Difficulties In Determining Intoxication

One of the largest frustrations that doctors, researchers, and law enforcement are having with this subject is the inability to determine how much marijuana causes a person to be too intoxicated to drive. Unlike alcohol, there is no scientific way at this time on how to determine how much is too much to use and still be able to drive.

Each individual will react differently to marijuana. Additionally, different strands of marijuana have different effects on people. Then, to make matters worse, if people use marijuana with other substances, legal or illegal, the effects on their system can change. Because of this, law enforcement is being trained to look for physical signs of drug intoxication that would be common in all individuals, regardless of what they have consumed.

Contact An Attorney If You Have Been Involved In A Drug Impaired Driving Accident

If you have been involved in a car wreck and the other driver was under the influence of marijuana or other drugs, you should contact a personal injury attorney to protect your rights. With so many different situations applying to this type of event, you will need a qualified lawyer to represent your case.

Even though the state has given authority to individuals to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, and is considering allowing recreational use of the drug, the users of marijuana have a duty to operate a motor vehicle safely. All drivers are required to take precautions to operate a vehicle with care and consideration for the other drivers on the road. If someone operates a vehicle without the ability to do so properly, then they must be held accountable for their negligent actions.

If you have been injured in this type of event, speak to an attorney to determine your rights as a victim and to discover what types of compensation you are entitled to for your losses.

Mechanic, Failure, Negligence, Injury, Claims, CaliforniaA recent Los Angeles jury verdict illustrates how negligent repair of a vehicle can cause serious injury for which the repair shop may be held liable. The facts and nature of the ruling were as follows:

Background Of The Case

On September 1, 2015, a California jury awarded Kenneth Fry over $2.1 million in damages for an auto repair negligence suit he filed against Larry Miller Toyota. This is a very significant case because it proves that mechanic negligence has a serious outcome when these actions lead to accidents and personal injuries.

Mr. Fry used the mechanic services of Larry Miller Toyota to replace a rear propeller in the driveshaft of his 1990 Toyota 4Runner. This repair was completed entirely at this dealership. Eleven months later, while Mr. Fry was driving on the freeway, the driveshaft fell out of his vehicle which caused him to be involved in an accident and become injured.

Mr. Fry sued Larry Miller Toyota for mechanic negligence citing that the dealership was guilty of auto repair negligence because they failed to use thread-lock bolts when securing the driveshaft to the transfer case per manufacturer instructions and because of this, the driveshaft was not tightened properly and ell off of the vehicle. The defendant denies all allegations.

Mr. Fry suffered spinal and shoulder injuries in the accident that required multiple surgeries and extensive physical therapy.

The Verdict

After nearly three years, this case went before a jury and the jury found in favor of the plaintiff 12-0. It was the jury’s belief that the injury that Mr. Fry sustained to his neck and shoulder was the direct result of the mechanical failure of the vehicle and that this failure was caused by a negligent repair. Mr. Fry was awarded $2.1 million for damages and $70,930 for past medical bills.

Accidents And Equipment Failure

Properly maintained vehicles are necessary for the safety of the driver and others on the road. It is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to always keep their vehicle mechanically sound. Countless accidents occur each year in California because of mechanical issues, such as broken tail lights, that could easily be avoided. For a compete overview of how mechanical failures cause unnecessary accidents, please review my related blog post: Mechanical Failure Traffic Accidents In California.

However, as any lawyer will inform you, if the owner of a vehicle has all the required maintenance performed on their vehicle to keep it safe and mechanical failure still occurs, mechanic negligence may be responsible for the accident and any injury that is caused by this mechanical failure.

If a repair facility is found to be negligent with their repairs, the facility may be held responsible for the following civil damages:

• All medical costs related to the accident. This will include future medical care costs if continuing treatment or therapies are necessary for the injured party.
• Loss of income. This includes any losses that the victim incurred immediately after the accident and any losses they may have in the future because of the injury. A lawyer may also ask for compensation for losses to retirement funds or investment accounts that are part of an income package of the victim’s employer.
• Pain and suffering. Depending on the severity of the accident and resulting injuries, the amount that the attorney may ask for in pain and suffering can only be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Mechanical Failure Is Not Just Restricted To Negligent Repairs

Sadly, negligent repairs are not the only issue that vehicle owners face when it comes to having work performed on their vehicle. There has been a large amount of OEM and aftermarket vehicle parts that have caused problems on vehicles around the country. Defective replacement parts can lead to injuries and death to the unsuspecting vehicle owner who thought they were properly maintaining their vehicle.

Falling under product liability law, these defective replacement parts have been connected to many accidents and deaths throughout the United States according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. When this occurs, the manufacturer of the defective part is held responsible for the accident and not the mechanic or the repair facility that installed the part.

When To Speak To An Attorney

If you believe that you have been injured as a direct result of negligence by a repair your mechanic made, you are encouraged to speak with a lawyer about your case. Under California law, you may be entitled to specific types of compensation for your injuries and losses, however, time is of the essence in these cases.  An attorney needs to have your vehicle inspected by proper experts prior to any modification or further repairs being done to obtain the necessary evidence required to prove mechanical negligence.

Does CA "Lane Splitting" Cause Motorcycle Accidents? Los Angeles Injury Lawyer Explains“Lane-splitting” occurs when a motorcyclist between lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic. This practice is against the law in 49 states and the District of Columbia, and California is the only state in the country that does not have a law specifically outlawing lane-splitting. California also does not have a law specifically stating that lane-splitting is legal and, therefore, many motorists become angry when motorcyclists engage in this behavior. Though lane-splitting can be distracting to motorists and can lead to accidents and injuries, the practice can be safe when done in a prudent and safe manner. If a motorcyclist fails to be careful or reasonable when lane-splitting and a collision occurs, any injured victims should contact a California motorcycle injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss a potential case.

Motorists can take precautions to avoid accidents

Motorcyclists are not the only ones who can cause accidents and injuries when lane-splitting occurs, as motorists can also behave in a negligent manner and cause injury to motorcyclists. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) offers several guidelines1 directed at motorists for safe lane-splitting practices. Some of these guidelines include as follows:

  • Understand that lane-splitting is not illegal.
  • A driver should not decide to try to discourage lane-splitting on their own and, in fact, it is against the law to intentionally impede or block a motorcyclist in a manner that may cause harm.
  • Do not open the door of your vehicle in an attempt to block or impede a motorcyclist.
  • Avoid distractions that may keep you from noticing a lane-splitting motorcyclist.
  • Signal and check your mirrors before changing lanes. 

If you are a motorcyclist injured by a motorist who intentionally or negligently caused you harm, you should never hesitate to contact a California victim’s lawyer to learn about your legal rights.

Lane-splitting law tabled until 2016

The legislature in California tabled a proposal2 until next year to codify the legality of lane-splitting into law. The law would include speed limitations for lane-splitting motorcyclists such as only driving 15 miles per hour over the pace of traffic and not lane-splitting at speeds higher than 50 miles per hour. Despite this delay, lane-splitting is not illegal and motorcyclists should be able to ride safely and without injury.



pedestrian accident, los angelesIn the Los Angeles case of Joesph Butenhoff v. Rae Anne Bautista, the jury demonstrated how just because a police report states that one party is at fault doesn’t mean that the other party won’t still have to pay repercussions for their actions in court. In this particular case the plaintiff was a pedestrian, and the defendant was the operator of a mobile vehicle. The plaintiff was reportedly in the street after dark helping a dog owner and his injured dog when the defendant struck him with her vehicle. The pedestrian suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the accident.

He Said

According to the plaintiff, the defendant failed to watch the road, and she had been present in the lane with the injured dog and his owner while other vehicles were passing slowly by the scene in the adjacent lane. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant kept driving in the lane that contained himself, the injured dog and the dog’s owner to pass the other vehicles in the slower moving lane and then struck him when she swerved to avoid hitting the dog.

She Said

The defendant, on the other hand, stated that the plaintiff was at fault since he had been found 100% at fault by the investigating officer for violating CVC 21954 pertaining to pedestrians in the roadway. She further stated that she attempted to the best of her ability to avoid the incident by swerving when she spotted the plaintiff. She further alleged that his injuries weren’t as extensive as he portrayed since he returned to work at a physically demanding job after just 7 months.

The Result

In addition to the traumatic brain injury, the plaintiff also complained of a fractured hip, torn meniscus, other cuts and lacerations and depression and anxiety as a result of the accident. The Los Angeles jury ultimately found that the defendant was 65% at fault for the incident, whereas the plaintiff was 35% at fault, which worked out in favor of the plaintiff, who ended up receiving a verdict for $3 million.

The Importance of an Attorney

This case illustrates the importance of seeking the advice of a personal injury attorney when you’ve involved in an incident in which one of the parties sustained an injury. Even though the investigating police officer didn’t find the defendant at fault for the incident at the scene, it didn’t free her from having to pay punitive damages later on in civil court when the plaintiff decided to seek compensation. If the plaintiff had simply taken the verdict of the investigating officer, then he would have forfeited his right to millions in compensation for his injuries.

Anytime you are involved in an accident, you should seek the representation of a personal injury legal expert. Legal experts have the intricate knowledge of personal injury law and the skills to aggressively fight for your case in court. It is important to remember that just because someone isn’t criminally charged in a case doesn’t mean that a jury won’t find he or she responsible for some of the damages you suffered when your case goes to trial in civil court. A qualified personal injury legal expert can help you build a strong case by obtaining the evidence needed to prove your claims through investigation of the incident scene, evaluation of your injuries by medical experts and compilation of any applicable cases and verdicts in the past that pertain to your own case and strengthen it.

Whether or not you were deemed to be at fault for an incident, always seek the professional services of a personal injury attorney when you find yourself in such situations.

Bus Stop, Accident, Claims, CaliforniaOn July 30, 2015 a verdict was finally given regarding a case of a 15 year old boy who died after being hit by a car at a dangerous crossing while heading for the school bus stop in San Bernardino County California. The jury awarded the adoptive mother of the boy $20,000,000.00 for her losses.

Summary Of Facts In The Case

In December of 2010, the 15 year old high school sophomore was on his way to his designated school bus stop which required him to cross an uncontrolled five-lane highway. This bus stop was designated by the school system and was the only stop that the young man could use to get to school. During his attempt to cross the highway, the boy was struck by a vehicle and suffered catastrophic injuries. This young man slipped into a coma and died from his injuries 15 days later.

The adoptive mother of the boy filed a wrongful death suit naming several defendants. When the case went to trial, the school district and the driver of the vehicle that hit the young man were the only defendants left on the case.

The Plaintiffs attorney stated that the school district had created a dangerous condition of public property. To prove this allegation, the Plaintiff showed that prior to the 2010 school year, the school district had a bus stop on the other side of the road which eliminated the need for the children to cross the busy highway. Her attorneys showed that by their careless elimination of this bus stop, the children had to cross this dangerous road where vehicles moved at rates of speed from 56 to 71 miles per hour. Therefore, by eliminating the bus stop, they created a dangerous condition of public property.

The Defendant denied all allegations and stated that there was a different bus stop that the boy could have used that would have eliminated his need to cross the major highway. They believed that they were not at fault and that the driver of the car should be held at least 50 percent responsible for the accident and that their responsibility, if any, should be shared with the decedent. This basically stated that they believed the boy was at least partially at fault for the event.

It was soon discovered that the school district had hidden many documents that they were supposed to produce to the Court. When they were produced, it was discovered that they were aware of their responsibility for the death of the young boy due to their elimination of the bus stop. It was also discovered that they bus stop that they claimed was available for the young man to use and not have to cross the street was not designated a stop until after the death of the boy. The Court found that the school district was 100 percent liable for the wrongful death of the boy because they created a dangerous condition of public property.

California Civil Jury Instructions 1100 – Dangerous Conditions On Public Property

For a jury to find that a person or entity has created a dangerous condition of public property, they must abide by the rules set down in the California Civil Jury Instructions. In this type of case, the jury could only find the defendant’s guilty of this charge if they could prove that the following events occurred:

• The defendant owned or controlled the property. – In this case the school district controlled where the bus would stop to pick up and let off children
• The property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the event. – In this case, the location was on the opposite side of a major highway, forcing the young man to cross in an uncontrolled area.
• The dangerous condition reasonably created a foreseeable risk that this type of accident may occur. – The school district should have known that making children cross a busy highway is dangerous
• The wrongful conduct of the person, employee, or entity created the dangerous condition. – The school district’s elimination of the other bus stop created this dangerous situation.
• The plaintiff was harmed from these actions – In this case, the boy lost his life.
• The plaintiff succumbed to a majority of their injuries due to these actions. – The Court found the school district 100 percent responsible.

In regard to this case, the plaintiff met or exceeded all of the requirements for the jury to find the defendant liable for creating a dangerous condition of public property.  In general these tend to be difficult cases that require expert analysis and opinion as to whether prior accidents or injuries at or near the same location warranted changing the conditions of the property.  Such changes are usually “discretionary” with the government entity but, if it is shown that it was “reasonably foreseeable” that a change needed to be made, the government entity can be made to pay as they were here. In this case, the defendant school district apparently impeded discovery of the fact that a prior death had occurred due to removing the bus stop in question.  I think the amount of the verdict is probably a reflection of the jury’s anger at not just the fact that this made the incident at issue “foreseeable” but, that it could be argued that they were “covering up” for their negligence.

Speak To A San Bernardino Wrongful Death Attorney

If you have lost a loved one to a similar type of event, you are encouraged to speak with a San Bernardino County wrongful death attorney about your loss.