Dangerous Property, Death Claims, CaliforniaAccording to the latest investigation, rotted wood beams were the cause of a balcony collapse that killed six college students in Berkeley California.  The students were having a party and many were gathered on the upper floor of a 176 unit apartment building.  A probe was launched by the Building and Safety Division into the cause of the collapse.  It was noted that the joists that were supposed to be supporting the balconies, which extended out of the side of the building were completely dry rotted.

What is the duty of an apartment owner in California to inspect their property and make it safe?

This tragic incident raises the question of what legal duty the owner and/or maintenance company for an apartment building has to inspect their property and make it safe.  California law on this issue is as follows:

Under so-called “premises liability” principles, every person or entity that, “owns, possesses or controls” real property may be held legally liable for injury or death caused by their negligence in their “use or maintenance of the property.” Rowland v. Christian, 69 Cal.2d. 110Whether or not there as been “negligence” by a property owner

Clearly, this was a advertised and use for residential rental space and the apartment owner would have a duty to maintain the property in a reasonable manner to prevent injury or death.  The question becomes, could they have or, more importantly, should they have known about this dry rot condition in time to either warn about it or repair it?

California law makes very specific requirements on landlords of residential rental property as follows:

“A landlord must conduct reasonable periodic inspections of rental property whenever the landlord has the legal right of possession. Before giving possession of leased property to a tenant [or on renewal of a lease] [or after retaking possession from a tenant], a landlord must conduct a reasonable inspection of the property for unsafe conditions and must take reasonable precautions to prevent injury due to the conditions that were or reasonably should have been discovered in the process. The inspection must include common areas under the landlord’s control.

After a tenant has taken possession, a landlord must take reasonable precautions to prevent injury due to any unsafe condition in an area of the premises under the landlord’s control if the landlord knows or reasonably should have known about it.” See California Civil Jury Instruction 1006

I would argue that if you own a 176 unit apartment building with balconies that jut out of the side of the building and are several stories off the ground, you should absolutely inspect and detect rotted joists well before they get to the point of potential collapse!  Dry rot of wood beams does not happen “overnight” and some reasonable inspection could have detected this defect.  I believe there will probably be wrongful death claims filed out of this tragedy and claims paid out through settlement.  If the matter goes to trial, I would suspect that the California jury instruction cited above will be a key to a verdict.  The defense may argue that the condition was hidden and the plaintiffs will argue that there was a duty to inspect and detect the dangerous condition of the property.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims in this tragic case!

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Legal Claims for Injury or Death Due to Dangerous Conditions of Property in CA

truck, accidents, CaliforniaThe trucking industry is a huge business across the nation as more than two-thirds of goods and merchandise are transported by trucks. A large portion of this truck traffic goes through California, carrying cargo that comes into west coast ports of entry. The U.S. Bureaus of Labor Statistics reports that 2.6 million people with commercial driver’s licenses are working in the industry, but nearly a million more have commercial driver’s licenses and are not using them. The American Trucking Assns. says that the industry is understaffed by between 35,000 and 40,000 drivers. By 2022, that number is expected to skyrocket to 240,000 drivers.

While the deficit is apparent over short distances, the long-haul industry feels the pinch the most. In addition, the lack of drivers affects ocean transportation and trains as they depend on truckers to complete the last leg of the journey.

Some companies have used shorter routes and signing bonuses to encourage new drivers. Other tactics include paying for training and special motivations for former military personnel, women or immigrants. However, these incentives are not making a permanent difference.

One of the factors that is contributing to the problem is the overall age of drivers, which averages more than seven years older than other workers. As they retire, no one is stepping up to take their place. Additionally, government regulations have limited the amount of time a driver can spend on the road, so other drivers need to bear the burden.

Most drivers are paid by the mile, but some people in the industry believe the issue could be addressed if they were paid by the hour instead. Under current models, a driver doesn’t earn anything when sitting at a light or waiting for merchandize. A driver might have to just accept inefficiency, even from their own company when they are the ones who end up paying for it. A driver might not be able to count on pay during a week as they don’t know if they will suffer a breakdown, deal with warehouse or traffic delays, or be at the mercy of weather-related delays.

However, the companies are resistant to change, partly because of the history of the industry. During the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt exempted drivers from Fair Labor Standards Act regulations so that the company did not need to pay them a traditional minimum wage.

A carrier in Lafayette, LA, Dupre Logistics, began paying truckers by the hour in about 2000. Although they had been compliant with industry rules regarding hours on the road, drivers were worn out and getting into accidents. The company shifted schedules and changed their pay structure as they transitioned to paying drivers by the hour. As a result, their accident rate dropped drastically. In addition, experienced drivers heard about the changes and were attracted to the company. Their turnover rate is just 17 percent in an industry known for rates of 90 percent or even higher. A reduction in turnover means that drivers are more familiar with their jobs and with regulations and are less likely to get into an accident.

The two major contributors to trucking accidents are speeding and fatigue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, semis and buses cost the national economy $40 billion annually in 2012. By changing how drivers are paid, the roads might be safer for everyone. Drivers no longer want to speed, push themselves when they are tired, or cut corners when it comes to maintenance and safety. Even if the drivers are focusing on compliance, a trucking company with a shortage of personnel might encourage drivers to violate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations.

No matter how a truck driver is paid, he or she can still be in an accident that causes immense pain and expense. If you have been the victim of a trucking accident in California, contact our law firm to discuss your options.

teen driving accidentsAs kids become teenagers and young adults, parents all have the same worry, and with good reason: Teens and young adults are much more likely to be involved in auto accidents than virtually any other group of drivers on the road. Part of this obviously has to do with the inexperience of the new driver; however, there are also many other factors that must be considered by every parent who is facing the prospect of a new teen driver on the road.

The Lack of Driving Skill

Many state driving tests have actually been censured by special interest groups because they do not accurately portray the skill of a new driver. Although a lack of experience definitely contributes to many of the accidents that young drivers find themselves in, the lack of driving skill is another aspect of this statistic. Younger drivers get into accidents that older drivers might be able to avoid because of their familiarity with the small hazards of the road that cannot be accounted for on a standardized, static test.

Is a solution around the corner?

The combined efforts of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) Center for Injury Research and Prevention and the University of Pennsylvania have come up with a novel idea on how to better assess driving technique of young drivers. The Simulated Driving Assessment (SDA) is a much more accurate portrayal of how a young driver will behave on the road than many of the stale tests that the state gives.

The University of Pennsylvania and CHOP published their results in the Injury Prevention journal. Their results were definitely interesting for anyone who is looking for a better way to assess the true skill of a young driver who is looking to receive a license. Because of the real-time techniques and real-world scenarios that the SDA simulated, young drivers were not able to finagle their way out of situations that would cause a problem on the road.

The test was created after a decade of research focused on the types of crashes that young drivers have as well as a five-year research period into how to best produce these situations as a simulation within the test.

The Results of the SDA Testing

During the SDA testing, a full 43 percent of newly licensed teenagers had a simulated crash compared with only 29 percent of more experienced drivers. The SDA testing found that young drivers were fairly adept at the basic skills of driving such as putting on a turn signal or breaking at a stop sign. The vast majority of the teens had problems during the more advanced real world simulations in which real-time decisions had to be made and advanced maneuvers were the only way to stay out of a crash. For instance, anticipating a hazard rather than reacting to it proved quite difficult for teen drivers. This coincides with the type of crashes that young drivers find themselves in most of the time – maneuvers involving long left turns, rear end situations and running themselves off of roads with difficult structures.

The Final Word on Helping Teens Avoid Crashes

The results seem to show that the older types of testing simply do not make an issue of the situations in which teens would actually have an increased chance of an accident. Simulated tests are the preferred method for creating the situations that a teenager would be more likely to have an accident in. With this knowledge in tow, perhaps better driving courses can be created that would help to simulate real world conditions for teenagers in the classroom before they got to their state driving test.

When you do business with a professional driver in California, you certainly expect that you will not end the interaction in an accident. However, this is not been the experience for many people who have recently patronized the Uber rideshare driving service in the state.

Claims in the Golden State from users of the Uber rideshare service have gone up in recent years, creating a real dilemma for insurance companies as well as for the rideshare company itself. It seems that drivers who are affiliated with the service have been getting into a great deal of trouble both on and off the clock, and it is uncertain why this is the case.

Many of the drivers have been saying that passengers in the rideshare vehicles have been creating untenable demands on them to somehow magically get to a remote location faster than traffic would allow. Because they are supposed to be “professional drivers,” they feel a pressure to perform more efficiently than the average driver would. However, anyone who has faced down the bumper-to-bumper traffic in CA understands exactly what even a professional driver is up against. Sometimes, there is simply no fighting the flow – you simply have to wait your turn.

However, this does not seem to explain the number of drivers who are getting into trouble off the clock. Perhaps they are being monitored more closely by law enforcement officials; it may be that they are simply more apt to get into an accident because of their increased number of hours on the road. However, this would seem to negate the notion of a professional driver, so maybe the company itself has some soul-searching to do when it reevaluates its hiring process.

Many of these professional drivers are protecting themselves by taking advantage of an extra insurance option that is available for people who are employed by a rideshare vehicle. The Insurance Commissioner of CA Dave Jones recently approved an insurance product that is to be offered by Farmers Insurance that fills in a huge gap in most insurance packages. For the most part, a regular insurance package will not cover a driver who is employed by a rideshare company to the extent that a professional driver needs to be protected by insurance coverage.

The minimum requirement for this extra insurance that is now required of rideshare drivers is $50,000. This number is down from $1 million. However, this insurance package only covers drivers while they are riding with a passenger in the vehicle or currently on route to pick up a passenger.

Metromile is another insurance company in the state that offers additional insurance coverage to rideshare drivers who are waiting to pick up a passenger. Combined, these two coverages take some of the ambiguity out of coverage for professional rideshare drivers.

If you have been the victim of an Uber rideshare accident, then you need a California attorney who understands the system. Whether you have the law on your side or not, you will need a reputable and experienced advocate in your corner in order to present your case – you can bet that the other side will. Do not leave your claims to the wind – give an established California attorney a call today.

self-driving cars, auto accidents, CaliforniaGoogle’s self-driving cars are here, but if you are in a state other than California, you wouldn’t know it from personal experience. To this date, California is the only state to allow these vehicles to be tested on the open roads.

Of the 50 vehicles that received permits to be driven on the roads and highways since September of 2014, four of them have been involved in collisions. To be fair, only two of the accidents occurred while the car was not being controlled by a human being.

Three of the four accidents involved Lexus SUVs that Google equipped with computing power and sensors. Delphi Automotive is an automobile parts supplier that owns two self-driving vehicles. One of these was involved in the fourth crash. Executives with Google and Delphi denied that their vehicles were at fault in these collisions. They also both claimed that the crashes were insignificant.

Collision Reporting and Self-Driving Vehicles

In September, the Department of Motor Vehicles began to require the owners of self-driving automobiles to report every collision to the agency. Agency officials confirmed that four of these automobiles were involved in crashes, but they could not discuss who was at fault because California’s laws prevented them from doing so. At any rate, one official who read all four reports did corroborate the statement that two of the vehicles were in self-driving mode.

Google Executives Refrain from Telling the Whole Story

Google executives did not volunteer very much information about the accidents, and this has caused some people to protest. One is Consumer Watchdog’s project director John Simpson. He is aware that Google executives eventually would like to manufacture a car that doesn’t have any pedals or a steering wheel. According to Simpson, riders will not be able to manually operate this type of vehicle if the car loses control. Before Google executives are allowed to pursue their ultimate goals, Simpson believes that the public should know that early versions of the driverless car have been involved in accidents.

The truth is that Google’s 23 SUVs did not experience their first collisions this past year. Executives started to test these vehicles several years before they received permission from the state. Last year, the head of Google’s driverless car program admitted that three other vehicles were involved in car collisions between the times that they began testing them unofficially and May of 2014.

Google’s Protestations

Google executives continue to downplay this matter. In a recent statement, they declared that people must expect accidents to occur in vehicles that have traveled several miles on the roads. According to their calculations, Google’s vehicles have been driven the equivalent of 140,000 miles or 15 years. They insist that the accidents have only resulted in slightly damaged fenders because human drivers were not paying attention. They deny that anyone was hurt physically.

The numbers tell a different story when one consults the National Traffic Safety Administration. According to this agency, car crashes that only result in property damages occur at a national rate of 0.3 per 100,000 miles. Compared to the national average, Google’s three property damage collisions per 140,000 miles is much higher, but executives had an answer for this challenge as well. They stated that it’s possible that as many as 5 million unreported accidents could have transpired. If this is the case, it would be difficult to know whether or not Google’s accident statistics are high.

The Reason Google Doesn’t Want You to Know

Google executives added laser sensors, radar and cameras to their vehicles to give them an advantage over humans. This technology allows these automobiles to know what humans cannot discern with their eyes and ears. In theory, driverless cars are supposed to be able to react more quickly to dangers than humans can, and when they sense that a crash is imminent, they must be able to react by honking the horn and tightening the passengers’ seat belts.

Since current technology does not seem to live up to expectations, scientists believe that the next step is to create a driverless car that will not provoke a serious collision. Anything to the contrary will mean that people will not want to volunteer to operate self-driving vehicles and that politicians will be reluctant to approve their use in the near future.

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Dog Bite, Dog Attack, Attorney, Los Angeles, California

While a dog can be man’s best friend, this domesticated animal can also exhibit aggressive behavior toward them. Countless studies have been conducted to determine if there is a connection between certain breeds and their inclinations to bite. At all times, you should be cautious around unfamiliar animals, but here is a quick look at various breeds to help increase your awareness and avoid potentially dangerous encounters.  As with any heavily populated urban environment, especially one like Southern California, where dog owners are numerous and breeds are highly varied, these types of incidents can and do occur quite often in places like Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the following dog varieties are most commonly involved in biting incidents:

  • German Shepherd
  • Pit Bull
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Saint Bernard
  • Rottweiler
  • Spaniel
  • Collie
  • Chow
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Labrador Retriever

Over a 20 year period, the Center for Disease Control studied the correlation between certain classes and fatal attacks. Their results showed that pit bull-type canines and rottweilers contributed to more than 50 percent of these assaults. The AVMA’s findings are similar in that pit bulls are most frequently involved in serious or fatal attacks. However, the AVMA goes on to state that it is unsuitable to pass judgment on an animal’s aggressive disposition based solely on their pedigree. Within breeds, there are often many factors to take into account when determining a canine’s individual temperament.

Large vs. Small Canine Breeds

According to owner surveys and behavioral tests, it is actually smaller or medium-sized varieties that are more hostile toward humans. Due to their petite stature, the bites of spaniels, collies and similar pets inflict less harm than those of larger canines, which may explain why these smaller types don’t top the list of aggressive animals. Likewise, owners of such canines are less likely to report aggression issues or pursue therapy because their pets seem too small to seriously injure someone. Due to a possible lack of training or restraint, these smaller classes are grossly overlooked when evaluating biting habits.

Of course, the sizable build of pit bulls, rottweilers and German shepherds make their inflicted injuries potentially devastating or even fatal. For this reason, attacks by larger canines are reported most often. Tracing back to their ancestry, their personalities are predominantly fearless and territorial, which is a combination that can lead to aggressive behavior when provoked or threatened.

Background of Animal As Contributing Factor to Dog Attack

When determining an animal’s tendency to attack, it is important to investigate its background, lineage and genetics. The term “pit bull” encases many different varieties such as the Staffordshire bull terrier and the American bulldog. Many of these sub-types were developed for the use of baiting bulls and fighting. With this in mind, it is easy to see why pit bulls are involved in more than half of all fatal canine attacks. Bred for their intelligence, German shepherds without proper training have a tendency to become overprotective and excessively territorial. If they are not properly socialized, their genetic instincts may lead them to attack someone that they deem an intruder. As for rottweilers, their risk factor lies in their remarkable strength. The AKC admits that this type of animal does not take kindly to strangers, and they require special training to develop appropriate social skills.

The Need to Consult An Attorney After A Dog Mauling Incident

As with most animals, mature and responsible owners play a key role in their pets’ behavior. When owners do not properly train their pets, a canine’s animal instincts are more likely to take over, which can lead to serious or deadly injuries. According to California Civil Code 3342, a canine’s owner may be held responsible for their pet’s actions regardless of whether or not the owner had any prior indication that their animal was prone to biting, and a quality attorney can help you obtain financial compensation in the event of an attack. If you have been attacked or bitten by a dog while on residential or commercial property, contact a California attorney experienced with dog bite and animal attack claims with regarding any potential civil actions for money damages to which the victim may be entitled.

Home Depot, California, Accident, AttorneyA correctional officer was shopping in a Home Depot store in California when a palm tree for sale fell onto her back, which caused her injuries requiring surgery and left her unable to work. A welder in Boston broke his shoulder after falling off a ladder purchased from a Home Depot when the top rung collapsed. A man driving in Tennessee was hit head-on by a Home Depot delivery driver nearly costing him his life.

What do these people have in common besides their connection to Home Depot? They all received six-figure payouts from the company.

Regular Home Depot shoppers got a shock last year when the company revealed that customers’ credit card data had been compromised, but that isn’t the only accident the company is trying to clean up. The trend of customers incurring injuries at the retail chain’s stores or from using their products has been less high-profile.

Statistics on Home Depot accident claims are difficult to find because the company keeps those numbers highly confidential. Lawyers who work for Home Depot are required to sign confidentiality agreements so that information does not see public light. The most recent statistics come from a court ordered disclosure in 1998, which documented 185 accident claims every week in stores across the country for that year.

From a realistic standpoint, accidents are bound to happen when you have hundreds of stores with thousands of customers in an environment with heavy machinery and many potential hazards. However, that does not excuse store owners of responsibility, and accident attorneys have played a big role in keeping companies on their toes to prevent accidents and making them pay up when they do occur.

How To Prove a Retail Accident Claim

Home Depot wants to avoid lawsuits at any cost. If you have a legitimate claim against them, an aggressive attorney may get Home Depot to agree to pay you a reasonable sum to avoid going to trial. If a store manager or other employee tries to suppress evidence by erasing surveillance footage, an attorney can help you get to the bottom of it. Whether it’s a trip or a slip inside the store or in the parking lot, you deserve retribution if an employee could have prevented the circumstances leading to your injury.

Negligent Maintenance of Property

For a store owner to be liable for negligent maintenance of property, all of the following must be true:

-A hazardous condition creating undue risks was present
-An employee knew about it, or they would have noticed it had they used reasonable care
-The condition was not addressed or repaired
-No effort was taken to warn patrons about the potential risk

“Reasonable care” is up to some interpretation, which is why hiring a lawyer is so important when pursuing an accident claim. Tort law in California requires proof that the dangerous condition persisted for long enough that someone should have noticed. So, for example, if a plaintiff can prove that the hazardous condition persisted because an employee failed to do a routine safety inspection, that could possibly indicate a lack of “reasonable care.” If an employee directly causes the hazardous condition, then they legally “knew” about it, even if it was unintentional. For example, if an employee stacks inventory too high and it collapses on the customer, the employee knew about that hazard and the store may be liable.

Accident Attorneys Fight for Just Compensation

No one wants to get rich by getting injured. When accidents do happen, you want to make sure they don’t ruin your health or financial future. Large retailers have deep pockets and a legal team of their own. They need to be punished with big fines when they make mistakes so accidents remain rare. If you have been injured at Home Depot, call an accident attorney to make sure you not only get your day in court but are adequately compensated.

apple watch, personal injury lawTrial attorneys learn early in their careers that each group of jurors is a blank canvas waiting for the evidence that will paint a picture of events as their clients seek to portray them. It is the task of the attorney to convince the jury that allegations are facts that can be believed and relied upon.

Needless to say, personal injury cases offer the greatest challenge to lawyers who must prove the effect an accident had on a client’s ability to go about his or her daily activities. In the past, attorneys resorted to commissioning professionally prepared videos portraying what purported to be an average day-in-the-life of the accident victim. The video could be played in court to offer jurors visual proof to support the testimony of the victim.

Wearable Data Offers an Alternative to Videos

The recent introduction of the Apple Watch to consumers represents the latest step in a technology trend that began when GPS capability was introduced into cellphones. The ability to track a person’s movements by monitoring the location of their cellphone could prove to be valuable in a criminal case to establish an alibi for the defense, or it could be used by the prosecution to place someone at the scene of a crime.

Of course, as with any data derived from a traceable device, other proof would be needed to counter the argument of a skilled attorney that all the data proves is the location of the device at any particular moment. It is not conclusive proof that the device was worn or used by a particular individual at the time it was being traced.

Wearables, such as Apple Watch and Fitbit, offer data that might be of use in proving damages in accident claims. For example, heart rate, distances and other such data could be offered as proof that an individual’s daily physical activities have diminished following injuries suffered in an accident. Unlike a day-in-the-life video that is limited in the number of days or hours that can be depicted, data from wearable devices can be gathered to show activity over longer time periods covering weeks or, depending on the type of case, even months.

The Importance of Authentication

The information obtained from a wearable device may be the piece of evidence that jurors hearing accident claims need to award compensation to plaintiffs trying to prove that a personal injury has affected their ability to function as they did before. The problem lies in proving the legitimacy and accuracy of the data.

As in cases involving GPS devices where a map tracing a person’s every step from one location to another might be a very persuasive in convincing a jury that someone was exactly where they claim to have been, data from wearable devices is subject to interpretation. An increased heart rate picked up by an Apple Watch might be used to prove that the wearer was engaging in strenuous activity. It does not, by itself, prove who was wearing it at the time the data was collected.

Even with new technology, the traditional skill of the trial attorney in laying a proper foundation for the introduction of evidence is as crucial as ever. The data speaks for itself, but proof of its authenticity and its application to the party introducing it to support or refute accident claims must also be presented at trial.

Use of Wearable Data in Its Infancy Stages

Courtroom use of data collected from Fitbit and other wearable devices is in its infancy stages. Judges and lawyers are still learning how and when it can be used properly and to its fullest advantage. One issue that lawyers expect will eventually arise from the collection of this data will be efforts by opposing parties to compel its being turned over by the device wearer as part of routine discovery in personal injury cases.

Chances are that judges will compel disclosure of the data on the theory of fairness. Its availability as proof of damages for the wearer of the device should make it available to the opposing party as well.

Takata Air Bag, Lawsuits, California, Injury AttorneyTakata Corporation recalled its air bags in 2008, but officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA found this to be insufficient. These officials decided to request an expansion of the recall in a stern letter on November 18, 2014. At that time, Takata executives claimed that the expansion was unnecessary.

In October, NHTSA officials strongly urged owners of vehicles with faulty air bags to have the bags replaced, but in February, they learned that approximately 90 percent of vehicles with Takata air bags had not been repaired.

The Problem

Takata air bags contain defective propellant devices and inflators that aren’t employing properly when there is a crash. Instead, the air bag’s steel canister fractures and then explodes. This sends plastic and metal parts in the direction of the driver and passengers, and it has resulted in several very serious injuries and fatalities.

Because the danger is higher in locations that experience high levels of humidity, residents of Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands and the South Pacific are particularly vulnerable. These were the first locations to be warned about the need for repairs, but NHTSA officials requested that the warning apply to every American car to ensure that there is no further risk to anyone. Executives with the former Chrysler, Honda and Toyota voluntarily expanded their repair efforts to include all 50 states.

A Shortage of Replacement Parts

Car manufacturers are suffering from a shortage of replacement parts, and this is contributing to the reason that more vehicles have not been serviced. Takata executives are increasing production of these necessary parts, but they stated that it would take at least two years to complete all of the repairs. NHTSA officials vowed to do what they can to help manufacturers obtain parts so that they can complete these repairs as soon as possible.

Vehicles with Faulty Air Bags

The list of vehicles that contain faulty air bags is extremely long, and it includes cars made by BMW, Honda, Ford, the former Chrysler, General Motors, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota and Mazda. However, Honda has more automobiles with these apparatuses than any other car manufacturer. Some of the Honda cars that have been recalled in 2014 and 2015 include the following:

• The 2003 to 2006 Acura MDX
• The 2002 to 2003 Acura TL
• The 2002 to 2006 CR-V
• The 2001 to 2002 Accord with V-6 engines
• The 2001 to 2005 Civic
• The 2001 to 2007 Accord with 4-cylinder engines

Toyota executives also listed specific models that contain these faulty air bags, and they are the 2001 to 2004 Lexus SC, Tundra, Sequoia, Matrix and Corolla.

Air Bag-Related Injuries

NHTSA officials took action in November because they are aware that people tend to forget about warnings to have their vehicles repaired after a little time goes by. Also exacerbating this problem is the fact that these vehicles are older and may not be under warranty. Because of this, the manufacturer cannot remind these owners that there is a recommendation to have the air bags repaired in place.

NHTSA officials could not allow this situation to continue because these air bags are so dangerous that they are injuring people who are not even in a vehicle when a collision occurs. For example, several workers at salvage yards in Japan sustained injuries when air bags exploded in these locations.

Air Bag-Related Fatalities

The third air bag-related fatality to be reported in the United States occurred in Los Angeles in September of 2013, and it involved a 2002 Honda Acura TL. The driver passed away in a collision in a bank’s parking lot although his seat belt was fastened. The coroner determined that the fatality was due to facial trauma caused by objects that came from the air bag. A Houston resident lost his life on January 18, 2015 because of the faulty air bag in his 2002 Honda Accord.

Although the NHTSA currently lists five air bag-related deaths, others believe that there may be more. It is also difficult to estimate how many injuries resulted from these faulty apparatuses, but some people claim that there have been at least 160 injuries.

Contact a Lawyer

If you sustained injury in a vehicle that contains the air bags in question and sustained injury or death from its deployment, you should contact an injury attorney. You may have lost a loved one in a crash that he or she would have survived if the vehicle did not have faulty air bags. You may be entitled to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your loved one. It is within your rights to file a claim against the Takata Corporation for monetary compensation because the executives knew about the defect in their air bags in 2004 and did nothing to address the issue. Your personal injury attorney will hold them accountable for this inaction.

physical abuse, sexual abuse, nursing homes, elder abuse, CaliforniaPhysical and sexual abuse in California nursing homes, assisted living institutions and adult day care facilities is still a huge problem. Elder abuse is a silent epidemic that’s prevalent in nursing homes and long-term care facilities in every city and state. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, 3.2 million Americans spent time in nursing facilities in 2008. Within the next few decades, some 5 million aging adults will move into assisted living and long-term care facilities. Even now, millions of moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents and loved ones risk being abused by their caretakers. This is one problem that’s not going away or getting better. Experts have called elder abuse one of the greatest law enforcement challenges of the 21st century. The statistics on the issue are shocking.

• One in three nursing facilities was cited for multiple violations that caused harm or had the potential to harm residents.
• Fewer than 2 percent of certified nursing facilities had no violations.
• According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, nursing facilities in California had 8.8 deficiencies on average.
• About 10 percent of citations were serious enough to injure residents.
• Approximately 40 percent of cases were discovered after family members, residents and community ombudsmen made reports.
• Nationally, more than 1,000 nursing facilities hired staff who had been cited for abuse previously.
• More than one-fifth of complaints involved injuries inflicted by other residents.
• Physical abuse was cited in one-third of the complaints.

Problems like this happen because nursing facilities are understaffed and don’t have adequate patient safety measures in place. Sadly, many elderly patients are reluctant to report maltreatment. They often feel ashamed or embarrassed, particularly in cases of sexual abuse. They may also fear retaliation and believe that the problems will worsen if they make a report. That’s why it is so important for friends, relatives and other residents to voice their concerns. Physical and sexual abuse can happen at any nursing facility, and these problems can take many forms.

What is nursing home abuse?

The California Welfare and Institutions Code has an extensive definition of abuse that’s outlined in section 15610.63. Physical abuse doesn’t only encompass instances of assault and battery. It also includes neglect, such as unreasonable physical constraint and prolonged or continual deprivation of food and water. Under this definition, withholding medications, failing to provide food and water, ignoring patient hygiene and neglecting to move patients or prevent pressure sores is considered abuse. Sedating, overmedicating and chemically restraining patients are other forms of physical abuse. Instances of sexual assault, battery and rape as defined within the Penal Code of California are considered abuse and will be treated as criminal offenses.

What should I do if I feel that a loved one is being abused?

The first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with the signs of abuse. Visiting your relatives and communicating with them often is helpful for protecting them and uncovering problems as quickly as possible. Varying visiting times and days can give you a better picture of how things really are. Depression, poor hygiene, isolation, bruising and changes in personality or behavior are just a few of the tell-tale signs of elder abuse. You have a right to review treatment records and accident reports. If you suspect that abuse is taking place, report it to a local ombudsman or law enforcement agency. For assistance investigating maltreatment and recovering compensation for medical treatment and emotional trauma, contact a qualified personal injury attorney with experience handling elder abuse cases.

Nursing facilities and caretakers should be held accountable for their actions or inactions. If you believe that a relative or loved one has been physically or sexually abused while in a nursing home, assisted living facility or long-term care facility, contact an elder abuse attorney to discuss your case.