Caitlyn Jenner, Accident, Bruce Jenner, Car Crash, California LawThere have been conflicting statements that have been submitted concerning the initial factor that caused the accidental death of 69 year old Kim Howe. One theory is that Caitlyn Jenner was talking or textin on a phone prior to the incident. The fatal accident occurred in early February of this year on the Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles. Jenner was cited as the being the primary cause of the crash when she rear-ended Ms. Howe.

California Vehicular Manslaughter Statute

There are three types of manslaughter that an individual can be charged with in the state of California. Depending on the situation and the individuals involved, the charges executed can affect the life of the assailant for a short or long period of time. Charges are basically determined based on the intent of the crime. One major concern is whether a person actually intended to commit the alleged crime or if the incident was an accident.

When an incident relates to vehicular manslaughter, gross negligence can be considered as criminal conduct.  In making this determination there are several things that are taken into account. According to California law specifically penal code 192(c), certain factors are evaluated as key indicators that can determine the outcome of a vehicle manslaughter case. For instance, crime involvement can be considered based upon the implication that a defendant was involved in another crime which prompted the negligent operation of a vehicle which caused a death or injury of another person. Some examples of this may include drunk driving, fleeing a crime scene, chasing another vehicle which results in a crash affecting other drivers or, in this case, the alleged illegal use of a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

Possible Conviction in Jenner’s Case and Affect it May Have on the Pending Wrongful Death Claim Against Her

Reports indicate that Ms. Jenner will be charged with misdemeanor manslaughter and face one year of jail time. Although jail time is a possible consequence, Jenner may only have to pay a fine. In Jenner’s case, prosecutors must prove that Jenner was either distracted, hit by another vehicle or if Jenner intentionally caused the accident.

If Jenner is found guilty of vehicular manslaughter in a criminal court, it would have a huge impact on the pending civil claim for wrongful death pending in Los Angeles Superior Court.  California’s Civil Jury Instructions section 418, the so-called “negligence per se” instruction, could be read to the jury as follows:

If you decide

1. That [name of plaintiff/defendant] violated this law and

2. That the violation was a substantial factor in bringing about the harm,

then you must find that [name of plaintiff/defendant] was negligent [unless you also find that the violation was excused].

The attorneys for Ms. Howe’s family would clearly argue that a criminal conviction by a higher burden or proof (i.e. beyond a reasonable doubt), should automatically be deemed “negligence” under a civil standard.  This may result in a judgment for money damages being entered against Ms. Jenner that could also include punitive damages for conduct shown to be “reckless” and “despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with the willful and conscious disregard of the rights and safety of others.” (See California Civil Code Section 3294).

CA Vehicular Manslaughter Case Challenges

This situation raises awareness of how a sudden event can create deadly and unfavorable results for individuals involved in auto accidents. Regardless of who was at fault in the auto accident involving Jenner and Howe, the application of the law will bring to light intricate details that witnesses may have missed when submitting their statements. The outcome of Jenner’s case will be an example of how a split second of inattention can lead to severe consequences for all involved that affect people’s lives forever!

Additional Resources:

Legal Claims for Money Damages in Distracted Driving Accidents in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, Street Accidents, Injury Attorney

Los Angeles – California City Skyline

The Los Angeles City Council finally seems to be taking its culture into account when dealing with the laws of the road. The proposed Mobility Plan 2035 no longer treats the car as the king of the highway – city planners and other transportation professionals would now be mandated to design and construct the transportation modules with bikers and pedestrians in mind as well as people who are on public transit. The community has long been calling for a multimodal transportation plan from the city, and the cries of people who prefer to bike or walk seem to finally be heard.

If Mobility Plan 2035 goes into effect, it would completely replace the plan that Los Angeles adopted just before the turn of the millennium in 1999. That plan was more focused on cars in general, with plenty of rhetoric focused on getting cars to their destinations as fast as they could get there. However, many people have actually completely removed the car from their lives in Los Angeles. Public transit is more popular than ever. Bicycles have always been popular yet underserved. Although the city is still as stretched out as it ever was, many people are actually choosing to live without a car.

Many of the recent energy problems in the city have brought awareness to more green ways to use energy. For instance, the entire state of California has committed itself to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This means that the entire state is backing any vision or legislation that reduces the amount of traditional driving that people do in cars that use fossil fuels. State law is behind the idea of the so-called “Complete Street,” that has served as a forefather of the Mobility Plan 2035. These Complete Streets are designed not around the car, but around pedestrians, cyclists and riders of public transit. No longer is the notion of better transportation encompassed completely in a wider street for a car.

– Provisions in the Mobility Plan 2035

One of the most effective measures in the Mobility Plan 2035 is the goal to completely eliminate traffic abilities by the year 2025. City streets will feel safer and more people will be willing to bike or walk themselves where they need to be, purveyors of the Mobility Plan are saying. Literally hundreds of miles of lanes for buses only will be created. There will also be newly protected lanes for bicyclists. Pedestrians will get drastic improvements in the scope of their streets that have been known to have a lot of pedestrians.

In order to pull off all of these changes, the city planners will need a great deal of data from the people who are actually going to be affected by these changes. Currently, the city has a great deal of public outreach form. The changes of Mobility Plan 2035 are just lines on a map right now: however, there are efforts to move this plan forward and gather the data that is necessary from the inhabitants of the city.

One aspect of the plan that are worried about is the fact that it only targets around 10 percent of the major streets in the city. The lane reductions as they are planned today may actually cause more congestion for people who continue to ride in cars. However, this sacrifice is seen as a necessary one that will still help to accommodate the majority of people who are looking to transport themselves efficiently in Los Angeles.

Pedestrians and bike riders definitely have more rights in Los Angeles, and you should take advantage of these rights if they are ever violated. If you are ever injured while you are walking or on a bicycle, then make sure that you contact a Los Angeles personal injury attorney immediately. You are no longer second-class citizens on the road anymore, and you must make your voice heard in order for those new rights to count for anything.

The injuries that you may incur from a vehicle crash while walking or biking are not ever to be glazed over. Make sure that you have a proper Los Angeles personal injury attorney on your side so that full compensation as well as the resources that you need to heal emotionally.

DUI, Accident, Injury, California, Attorney, LawyerA verdict was recently reached in Los Angeles County in the case of Cardona v. Cortes. The three plaintiffs, Jose, Irene and Eduardo Cardona, were awarded $20 million for damages they collectively sustained after their vehicle was struck by a drunk driver. The trial lasted a total of 13 days, and the jury deliberated for two more before reaching a consensus on June 15, 2015.

Los Angeles Superior Court

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, November 30, 2012, as an action resulting from a traffic collision that occurred in February 2011, with the defendant, Navarro Cortes. The Honorable John J. Kralik presided over the case.

Before the case went to trial, the plaintiffs had asked for $5 million, but the defendant’s insurance company refused to offer them even the policy limit of $30,000 before the demand expired. This was accepted as a bad faith action against the insurance company, which opened the limit, and the plaintiffs set a new demand of $33.5 million for Jose Cardona and $16 million for Irene.

DUI Collision

On February 6, 2011, Jose Cardona, a 59-year-old welder, was driving with his wife Irene, a 53-year-old homemaker, and their 22-year-old son Eduardo. Cardona had just executed a left-hand turn on 47th Street from Ft. Tejon Road in Palmdale and was travelling southbound at a speed of 15 to 20 mph.

Navarro Cortes was driving northbound on Ft. Tejon Road at approximately 50 mph when he lost control of his SUV and crossed into the opposite lane where it collided head-on with Jose Cardona’s sedan.

The Cardonas contend that Cortes was negligent because he was driving under the influence of alcohol. The defendant admitted that he was liable, but he contested the extent of the injuries the plaintiffs suffered and the amount of damages.

Serious Car Crash Injuries Sustained

As a result of the collision, Jose Cardona sustained several injuries, including multiple fractures to both legs. Both of his knees and his right ankle were also fractured. He went into surgery that evening where he had his talus bone removed and his fibula repaired. Several days later, he went into surgery again to repair a torn meniscus, another severe fracture in his right tibia and both patellas. Because of these injuries, Jose can only walk very short distances with the assistance of a walker before experiencing intense pain and fatigue, and he must use a wheelchair to travel longer distances. He has also been unable to work his job as a welder.

In addition to the injuries he sustained in his legs, Jose also suffered a torn rotary cuff in his right shoulder, and damage to his brain was identified several years after the accident. This brain injury causes Jose to suffer from headaches, dizziness, depression and anxiety, and he has problems with memory, concentration and mood management. He also suffered a motor-speech disorder known as dysarthria, which causes him to slur his words and experience facial numbness and difficulty swallowing.

Irene Cardona suffered a complex fracture of her right wrist from the crash, and she was taken into surgery the following day. The doctors fused the broken bones in her wrist, but she continues to experience severe pain in the area. In October 2014, Ms. Cardona had the plates and other hardware removed from her wrist, and she was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome. At the time of the trial, the pain had extended from her wrist to her arm and shoulder, and it has been so intense that she has lost consciousness.

In addition to her injured wrist, Irene sustained multiple abrasions and a traumatic brain injury that causes her to suffer from frequent headaches and blurred vision.

Eduardo was also injured in the collision. His abdominal wall was ruptured, which caused internal bleeding and anemia, and he had lacerations on his chest. He was immediately taken to surgery to repair the complex hernia, but afterward, he experienced an intestinal blockage that required a second surgery. He was in the hospital for a total of six days and continues to experience pain in his abdomen.

Jury Awards Family $20 Million

After deliberating, the jury found Cortes 100 percent liable for all damages sustained by the Cardona family. Jose was awarded $4.6 million in economic damages and $9.5 million in non-economic damages, Irene was awarded $1.8 million in economic damages and $4.5 million in non-economic damages and Eduardo was awarded $600,000 for pain and suffering.

DUI Accidents: A Serious Matter Requiring Quality Legal Representation

DUI accidents are a serious matter, but the laws surrounding such cases can be very complex. The legal standard, however, is very clear to experienced attorneys, such as those at the Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat. Visit the firm’s website for further information on DUI accident claims involving injury or death in California.

Additional Resources:

DUI Accidents Involving Commercial Vehicles in California

Electrical Shock, Accident, Lawsuits, California, AttorneyIn a recent Riverside County case, a jury awarded the estate of a migrant farm worker $4.7 million in damages for his electrocution death while working at a fruit orchard. The 31-year-old man was working as a fruit harvester at the time of his death. He had been provided with a ladder by his employer that he was using to gather fruit from upper branches when it came in contact with a low-hanging power line, electrocuting him.

The Lawsuit

The lawsuit was filed by the decedent’s estate, the man’s wife and two children as well as a coworker against several defendants, including the site’s supervising company, S&R Farm Labor Contractor, Inc.; the Southern California Edison Company, or SCE, and the property’s owner, Circle K-5 Citrus Ranch/Kelley Trust. Reportedly, the jury took one day to deliberate before coming back with their decision following the five-week trial. In apportioning damages, the jury determined that SCE was 80 percent responsible, the man’s employer was 15 percent responsible and the site’s supervising company was 5 percent responsible. The jury did not hold the property’s owner responsible for any of the damages.

What the Plaintiffs Argued

The power lines were at a height of 18 feet and 10 inches, which the plaintiffs argued were too low. They also argued that SCE did not maintain the lines at 25 feet and also failed to either remove or trim trees that were growing beneath the power lines running over the property. The plaintiffs pointed to current regulations issued by the Public Utilities Commission requiring that power lines be no lower than a minimum of 25 feet. Finally, the plaintiffs argued that the jury should not consider that the man was a migrant worker, that his family spoke no English or that he was frequently away from his family for extended periods due to his work.

What the Defendants Argued

The defendants attempted to rely on former PUC regulations dating to 1946, the time the lines were installed, which at the time designated the minimum height of the lines from the ground to be 17 or 18 feet. SCE also argued that the line clearance had been changed in 2009 when an electrical pole was damaged. Further, the company argued they were only required to have their lines clearing trees by 18 inches. The defendants all argued that the man’s employer was at fault for not keeping workers at least six feet apart and by providing the man with a 20-foot ladder, as the trees, according to them, were only between 12 and 14 feet tall. The defendants also argued that the damages should be less because he had apparently been away from his family for a year, and that the man’s coworker did not suffer any emotional distress due to witnessing the accident.

Legal Standard for Wrongful Death Damages in the State of California

In the state, juries can award both economic and noneconomic damages in cases in which a person dies due to the negligence of another. Economic damages include the financial support that the decedent would have provided if they had not died, any loss of benefits the decedent would have otherwise provided to the plaintiffs, burial and funeral expenses and the value of household services that would have been received by the plaintiffs. Noneconomic damages include such things as the loss of the love and companionship of the decedent, the loss of their guidance and the loss of consortium, or sexual relations, with the decedent. Juries are instructed that there is no fixed standard on the amount of noneconomic damages, but they should instead set them according to what they believe is reasonable and according to what the person’s life expectancy would have been if they had not been killed.


According to the Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat, an electrical wiring accident attorney, statistics from the National Safety Council and the Consumer Product and Safety Commission show that between 400 and 500 people die every year in the country from electrocution. Among the causes of such electrocutions in California are faulty wiring, which causes 20 percent of the cases, coming into contact with power lines and being shocked by consumer products and appliances.

When a loved one has been killed after being shocked by an appliance, a power line or faulty wiring, the family may be able to seek damages for their losses by filing a civil lawsuit against the persons or companies responsible. An attorney may be able to review the facts of the case in order to determine whether negligence likely occurred. They may then identify all of the legal grounds upon which to base the claims and file the civil complaint to initiate the case.


Jury Verdict Alert, “Migrant orchard worker electrocuted by overhead power lines, family in Mexico awarded $4.7 million,” Accessed Aug. 5, 2015.

Justia, “California Civil Jury Instruction 3921,” Accessed Aug. 5, 2015.

Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat, “Electric Wiring Accident Attorney,” Accessed Aug. 5, 2015.

computer hackers, car crashes

Hacking and cyber crimes are occurrences that frequently happen to innocent victims all over the world. More than 55 million people across the globe fall victim to computer hacking and other cyber crimes, according to a statistic provided by the Go-Gulf site. Hacking is the act of breaking into someone’s account and using it for malicious personal gain. Hacking can be a devastating experience that can ruin a person’s life, depending on the system that the hacker overrides. The types of accounts that hackers infiltrate are email accounts, social media accounts and financial accounts. Recently, consumers of high-tech vehicles learned that hackers have advanced to taking control of some computerized automobile systems.

Hackers Gain Access to a Vehicle

Automobile technology grows in innovations with each passing year. The Fiat Chrysler company is an example of a company that manufactures vehicles with the wireless technology. The dashboard connectivity system that comes with some of the newer vehicles was supposed to provide a high level of convenience to consumers. The system allows consumers to have access to the Internet via Wi-Fi connections. It allows consumers to connect to GPS systems, applications, cell phone connects and more. Unfortunately, some of the newer models were suffering from some great vulnerabilities and glitches. The company had to recall more than 1.4 million of its elite vehicles because of the glitches in the dashboard connectivity system.

“Hackers” Gain Total Control of a Jeep

Two technology researchers hacked into a new Jeep that had the dashboard connectivity system. The breach was not just a small breach. The hackers gained access to several vehicle components. They were able to obtain control of crucial components such as the engine, steering column, air conditioner, radio and the brakes.

The damage that a vengeful hacker can do with that much access is beyond frightening for consumers. Hacking antics can range from silly shenanigans with the radio, to deadly acts with crucial components. A hacker could certainly crash a vehicle with control of the brakes and steering wheel. Federal regulators such as the N.H.T.S.A. are realizing the severity of the problem and forcing immediate review and correction.

The researchers reported their findings to the company immediately, and the company took prompt action. The Fiat Chrysler Company stated that fixing the vulnerabilities is its top priority at this time.

Fiat Chrysler Makes the List of Firsts

Being the first to achieve something is usually a positive thing. Unfortunately, it is not so positive for the Fiat Chrysler company. The company made history as being the first company involved in a Vehicle recall for cybersecurity issues. The incident will inconvenience some of the vehicle owners, but it will help the company to build secure vehicles in the future, as well.

List of Affected Vehicles

The recall affects vehicles that were designed in 2013 and beyond. Some of the cars on the list of affected vehicles are the Dodge Viper, Dodge Durango, Ram pickup, Dodge Charger, Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300 units. Specialists will install the patches that they developed to close the holes in vehicle security. Network specialists have agreed to take steps to increase network security on the Sprint network, as well. With Fiat Chrysler security tightening up from all angles, drivers can soon have faith in the vehicular technology.

Should Consumers Worry?

The wireless technology for vehicles is still young, which means the industry is still working through the hiccups. Vehicle computers have weaknesses just as desktop units and cell phone processors have weaknesses. Drivers can look at this experience as a time to allow vehicle manufactures to work out the kinks. Future vehicles will have beefier security systems and more convenient options than ever before.


car crash, accident law, CaliforniaIn an interesting personal injury claim coming out of California, the Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District, has reinstated a plaintiff’s case arising from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. (See Navarrete v. Meyer, (2015), CA Fourth District Court of Appeal, Case No. D067454).

Facts of the Case: On November 26, 2009, a vehicle driven by defendant, Brandon Coleman, was traveling with two passengers.  Defendant, Hayley Meyer, was riding in the front passenger seat and the second occupant was in the rear.  As the vehicle was traveling to a drug store, defendant Meyer is alleged to have encouraged the driver to turn down a street known to have a lot of “dips” and to go fast to attempt to “get airborne”.  Despite the stated speed limit of 25 m.p.h., the driver got the vehicle to an estimated 80 plus miles per hour, hit the “dip”, lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a parked vehicle.  At the time of the collision, plaintiff’s husband was standing alongside the parked vehicle attempting to strap a child into a car seat.  He was struck, his legs were both severed and he died of his injuries.  His wife brought a wrongful death claim initially against the driver and the County of Riverside, CA (claiming negligence operation of a motor vehicle and a dangerous roadway condition of public property, respectively).  The lawsuit was later amended to add passenger Meyer as a defendant under theories of “civil conspiracy” and violation of California Vehicle Code 21701, which states, in pertinent part as follows:

“No person shall wilfully interfere with the driver of a vehicle or with the mechanism thereof in such manner as to affect the driver’s control of the vehicle.”

Defendant, Meyer brought a Motion for Summary Judgment, claiming there were no “triable issues of fact” for a jury to decide on the claims against her and that she should have the case dismissed in her favor.  The trial judge granted this motion.  The Court of Appeal reversed holding as follows:

“The evidence here permits a reasonable jury to infer that Coleman accelerated the vehicle at Meyer’s request so Meyer (and possibly Calhoun) could observe and experience the car “gain air,” as she had experienced in past trips along that road.”

” … for purposes of joint liability under a concert of action theory, it suffices that Meyer assist or encourage Coleman’s breach of a duty, which Vehicle Code section 23109 impose upon him (and also upon her not to aid and abet Coleman).”

“We cannot say on Meyer’s summary judgment showing that the evidence is insufficient as a matter of law to support joint liability on a theory of civil conspiracy.   As we view it, the evidence raises a triable issue for a jury as to Meyer’s co-equal liability on such a theory.   Critically, the law imposed on Meyer personally an independent duty not to encourage or assist Coleman in engaging in an unlawful exhibition of speed.  (Veh.Code, § 23109.)”

My Analysis of this Decision as a California Accident Attorney and Injury Lawyer: Obviously, this was a tragic example of what engaging in and encouraging reckless driving can lead to (i.e. injury and/or, in this case, fatalities).  As personal injury attorneys, it is our job to zealously advocate for persons who suffer bodily harm or death as a result of the lack of reasonable care or outright wrongful or unlawful conduct of another.  Part of this advocacy process is to determine all the potential theories of recovery and decide who may have participated in the wrongful conduct or contributed to the incident giving rise to harm.

Given the facts of this case, I think the attorneys for the deceased were both thorough and creative in determining persons at fault and in crafting theories of recovery that went beyond a straight negligence claim against the driver.  Decisions like this one validate the reason for statutes which prohibit not only operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner but, interfering with or encouraging other persons to engage in such reckless driving.

Under California Rules of Civil Procedure, the defendants in this case may seek a review of the decision by the Court of Appeal to the California Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court may agree to hear the matter or may let the ruling stand.  I am hopeful that the case will not be overturned and will remain precedent to be used by attorneys advocating for injury victims in California in the future.


Additional Resources:

Legal Theories of Monetary Recovery in California Auto Accident Claims

duodenoscopes, infections, lawsuitsA functional duodenum is paramount to proper digestion and intestinal health. The duodenum handles a large portion of food digestion and acid neutralization. A condition within that body part can cause symptoms such as stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, bloating and more. A specialist may have to use a duodeonoscope in an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography to confirm a diagnosis of a duodenal disorder. The patient must ensure that he or she uses a reliable facility with a reliable team of experts. The dangers that can come from a duodenoscope are almost equal to the dangers that can arise from an undiagnosed duodenal problem. Two facilities were involved in duodenoscope malpractice scandals recently.

The Danger of Duodenoscopes

Two facilities had recent medical scandals that included the use of a duodenoscope. The Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and the UCLA Medical Center are the two facilities that were involved in such incidents. At least two patients died at the UCLA Medical Center after receiving a procedure that involved a bacteria infested duodenoscope. Similar incidents occurred at medical centers such as the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and an Illinois facility called the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. More recently than the previously stated incidents, the Virginia Mason Medical Center lost 11 patients to death after they contracted infections from duodenoscopes. The outbreaks of deadly duodenoscope infections caused great concern, as more than 280 people developed infections from dirty devices.

The Fine Line Between Chance and Neglect

Some incidents occur by chance, and others occur because of neglect. The deadly duodenoscope statistics are too numerous for chance, but they do indicate that neglect may have occurred in each case. Researchers found that the duodenoscopes in many of the cases carried the E. coli bacteria. E. coli usually grows on unsanitary objects. The FDA released several supportive documents to assist medical facilities in providing high-level sterilization for their equipment. However, the releases cannot assist the people who have already been affected by the infected duodenoscopes.

Whose Fault Is It When a Patient Dies?

The family of the victims can collect monetary compensation if a judge finds that neglect played a factor in the incident. He or he may rule that medical practice took place. Medical malpractice is an incident in which a medical caretaker’s negligence causes a patient to die or suffer from an exaggerated medical condition. The survivors can look at one of two parties for medical malpractice compensation: the individual doctor or the entire facility. The victim’s family could claim that the person died an unnecessary death because of a medical employee’s failure to use the appropriate sanitation methods.

Ensuring that equipment is clean and sanitary is one of the responsibilities of medical workers, according to the oath. Such personnel are supposed to act in a manner that protects the patients’ best interests. Failing to ensure that an instrument is sanitary is a huge violation of a patient’s rights. A judge may hold the medical institutions in the previously mentioned situations liable for the wrongful death of multiple patients.

Getting Assistance for Duodenoscope Incidents

The family members of the deceased individuals in the above incidents may be eligible for two types of compensation: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages can cover their medical bills, household bills, counseling and funeral expenses. Punitive damages can cover them for their pain and suffering. The surviving victim can contact a medical negligence attorney and schedule a consultation to find out more about compensation. Medical negligence attorneys can assist living victims of duodenoscope infections or the families of deceased victims. The first step is scheduling a consultation with an attorney. The attorney may offer the person contingency coverage so that no additional stress is involved in the case. Contingency representation released the victim from the burden of retainer fees until the attorney wins the case. In some cases, the attorney will not ask for a penny until the settlement check arrives. At that point, the attorney would take a portion of the check.


Multiple Defective Auto PartsToo often, auto manufacturers negligently produce defectively designed or assembled parts that can cause a driver to lose control, cause a risk of fires, or create other dangerous hazards. In the wake of the Takata recall of an estimated 34 million cars,1 much attention has been focused on the possibility of having defective airbags in our vehicles. However, while you should definitely check whether your vehicle has been affected by the airbag recall, there are many other active recalls for defective auto parts that may lead to serious accidents and injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports new safety recalls2 on a constant basis so that consumers can always determine whether their car or truck is safe for use.

The following are only some examples of recalls that have been issued in recent months of which drivers should be aware:

Fleetline fender brackets – Fender brackets that were manufactured in early 2015 were reportedly not sufficiently welded and can cause a fender to either fall against the tires, causing steering hazards or can fall off of the vehicle entirely, potentially causing other vehicles to crash into the fender in the road. 

Chevy Malibu seat belts – Certain Malibu models from 2011 and 2012 have seat belt cables that can break and cause inadequate protection in the event of a crash.

GM brakes – The brakes on certain GM trucks may leak fluid, thereby decreasing the effectiveness of the brakes and creating an increased risk of a collision with other vehicles or objects. 

Ford steering systems – Some Ford F-150 trucks from 2015 have an improperly assembled steering upper intermediate shaft that can malfunction and cause a driver to lose control of the steering of a vehicle.

The above are only a few examples of the numerous auto recalls reported on the NHTSA website and more are issued on almost a daily basis. Auto recalls affect everyone across the country from California to Michigan to the east coast. If you have suffered injury in a collision caused by a defective auto part, an experienced Michigan car accident lawyer can help you today.



Distracted Driving, Accidents, California, AttorneyAs the use of cellular phones has become almost ubiquitous in today’s everyday culture, both in California as well as across the country, distracted driving has becoming a correlative increasing danger. Many people are seriously injured or even killed in accidents every year caused by a distracted driver, both in California as well as elsewhere in the U.S.

While the idea of distracted driving has become almost synonymous with talking or texting on a cell phone while driving, the activity encompasses much more. As a recent study reported in the LA Times reports, cell phone use has become an increasing problem. Despite the risks, drivers continue to use cell phones and do other activities while they are driving.

National Statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, an average of 1,153 people are injured and nine are killed every day due to the actions of a distracted driver in the country. That rate equated to 3,328 people killed in 2012 alone, with another 421,000 people injured in such accidents. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that 3,154 people were killed in accidents caused by distracted driving nationally.

State Statistics

A recent study reported by the LA Times underscores the fact that the problem of distracted driving is a growing one in California. The state’s Office of Traffic Safety, which conducted the study, reported that one out of 10 drivers reported being distracted by texting, answering, calling or otherwise handling their cell phones while driving. The office indicates the actual number is most likely closer to one in five drivers, however. This usage represents a 40 percent increase over the numbers from just last year, an astonishing increase in such a short period of time.

Why Multi-tasking Causes Distraction

The reasons why using cell phones or doing other assorted activities while also driving can cause distracted driving are threefold, according to the CDC. The act of driving requires visual, cognitive and manual attention. When a driver takes their eyes off of the road, even for a couple of seconds, they lose visual attention. Similarly, thinking about other things, such as an incoming message on a cell phone, causes cognitive distraction from the act of driving. Finally, manual distraction, such as that involved with manipulating a cell phone or other electronic equipment in a car, distracts a person’s manual attention. Cell phone use while driving is thus very dangerous, as it involves distraction in all three categories.

Youth most at Risk

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, reported that among drivers, young drivers up to age 20 reported the highest rate of accident involvement when they were simultaneously using a cell phone, at 13 percent. Similarly, the age group of drivers up to age 24 reported much higher rates of sending text messages or emails while driving as compared to older drivers, with between 44 and 49 percent of young drivers acknowledging doing so.

A shocking study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University and reported by NPR demonstrated the extent of distracted driving behaviors in teens and youth. In the study, teens reported not only texting or talking on their cell phones while driving, they also reported engaging in a whole host of activities. While 40 percent admitted to texting while driving, some also reported engaging in such activities as changing their clothing, doing homework, changing shoes, putting on makeup or even putting in contact lens, all while also operating their vehicles.

What can be Done

Educational campaigns regarding texting while driving have demonstrated some success. The Oregon study’s authors indicated that the results they obtained demonstrate a need to incorporate other types of distracting behaviors into driver education programs for teens. Parents should also refrain from using their cell phones and take steps to make certain their teens are well-educated about the dangers of all types of distraction while they are driving. They should themselves be good role models and not engage in similar behaviors.

In addition to the possibility of receiving a ticket for distracted driving behavior, people who continue to do so despite the risks entailed subject not only themselves but also everyone on the road around them to the danger of serious injury or even death. In the event someone is seriously injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, the injured victim may seek recompense through filing a personal injury civil lawsuit against the distracted driver for their negligence. When people are killed, their families can similarly file wrongful death civil lawsuits. Such civil actions may be filed in addition to any criminal prosecution, as they operate under two different bodies of law. Through such lawsuits, people may recover both economic and noneconomic damages.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Distracted driving,” Oct. 10, 2014.

LA Times, “More California motorists using phones while driving, study finds,” Katie Shepherd, July 16, 2015.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Young drivers report the highest level of phone involvement in crash or near-crash incidences,” April 2012., “Teens say they change clothes and do homework while driving,” Maanvi Singh, March 18, 2015.

Brain Injury, Attorney, California

Brain injuries have been found to be a leading cause of many deaths in the United States. However, the state of California is recorded to have the most cases of brain injury death cases. According to the Center of Disease Control, there were 35,000 people who acquired brain injuries over a six year period specially 2004 to 2010. These numbers are evident that brain injuries can cause extensive damage to a person’s well-being.

Causes of Brain Injury

There are several ways a traumatic brain injury can occur. Some of the most common ways include:

  • Auto accidents
  • Slip and fall
  • Blunt Force
  • Defective products or equipment

The CDC also indicates that brain injuries occur frequently among young males who are the target of shootings. When these incidents occur, injury victims may lose consciousness, memory, their vision or life. While some brain injuries may be diagnosed immediately after an incident, some victims may not be aware of brain damage if not treated early. Brain injuries can have a long term effect on a person to the point of losing cognitive ability and physical mobility. The effects of brain injuries can also take a toll on a injured victim’s family. This is due to the attention that is required in assisting a brain injury victim with medical and home care. Emotional stress can also increase when a brain injury victim dies.

What to Do if You have a Brain Injury

The first thing you should do after being hitting you head is go to the nearest hospital to have your brain assessed. After you have received a brain injury diagnosis, you need to follow your doctor’s instructions for treatment. If surgery is required, it is important that you follow directives for this procedure as well as postoperative care.

Depending on the cause of your injury, you may be able to collect compensation to help you pay for brain injury medical expenses. However, you will need to consult with a brain injury attorney. Upon acceptance of your case, your attorney will begin to assist you by gather your medical records and incident report.

If it is discovered that your brain injury was due to someone else’s negligence, your attorney will begin the litigation process by filing a claim on your behalf. Since brain injuries are progressive, your case will be thoroughly investigated to present substantial evidence against the negligent party.

Legal Assistance

When you begin your search for legal assistance in California, you should review profiles, success rates, and testimonals. By doing so, you can weigh your options and make your decision to retain legal service based on the resources given to you. During your initial consultation, you will informed about what steps will be taken to pursue compensation for:

  • Medical expenses – These expenses include doctor appointments, tests, and procedures
  • Long term care – This includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy

The state of California has numerous law firms that handle brain injury cases. These cases have involved clients who are still living with brain injuries and also those who have died as a result of brain injuries.

If you have a brain injury or a loved one has died because of brain trauma due someone else’s negligence while driving, walking, working or was involved in a physical altercation, it is recommended that you seek legal help immediately in order to protect your legal rights. Since a traumatic brain injury requires serious attention, the more medical and legal resources you receive to help make your daily living easier, the more equipped you’ll be to handle some of the physical challenges associated with a brain injury.  The law offices of Steven M. Sweat, APC, have been zealously advocating for the victims of head trauma for decades.

Avoid Missing the Filing Deadline

You may have a valid brain injury case, but if you don’t act fast to request compensation for your injury, you may lose your benefits forever. If you want to protect your legal rights as a brain injury victim, it is important to file your claim for benefits or find a law firm that represents brain injury victims within two years of the date of your injury incident.