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Under California’s premises liability laws, California property owners owe a duty to keep their premises safe and to warn visitors of hazards in most cases.[1] However, when people are permitted to enter the land to participate in a recreational activity, the landowners are immune from liability. The immunity from liability does not apply in cases in which the landowners expressly invite others to enter their land, however. InHoffman v. Young, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B292539m the appeals court considered whether an invitation by a property owner’s son to a friend to come to his parents’ home was enough to overcome his parents’ liability after his friend was injured.[2]

Factual and procedural background

Mikayla Hoffman was invited by her 18-year-old friend, Gunner Young, to Gunner’s parents’ home. At the time, Gunner still lived with his parents, and Mikayla was a minor. Young drove to Hoffman’s house and loaded her motorcycle in his truck for her. He then drove her to his home. On some of his parents’ land next to his home, the Youngs had built a motocross track. Young and Hoffman road their motorcycles on the track together. Young collided with Hoffman’s motorcycle, causing her to suffer serious injuries. Hoffman’s parents filed a lawsuit against Young and his parents.

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California-Concert-Accidents-AttorneysSummer music festivals are popular in California. Unfortunately, some people are seriously injured or die at concerts because of heat exhaustion, drug overdoses, and other issues. In Dix v. Live Nation Entertainment Inc., Cal. Ct. App. Case No. 289596, the appeals court considered whether an entertainment company that held a music festival owed a duty to protect concertgoers from the risk that they would overdose on illegal drugs.[1]

Factual and procedural background

Katie Dix was a 19-year-old woman who attended the Hard Summer Music Festival on Aug. 1, 2015. The concert, called Hard Fest, was put on by Live Nation Entertainment. To secure permits for the festival, Live Nation built multiple structures, including several medical structures and cooling stations throughout the location where the festival would be held. A safety protocol booklet was written that recognized that some concertgoers would likely bring illegal drugs to the concert to consume and distribute. Concertgoers had to enter through security gates to get into the festival. At the gates, security personnel patted down each person and checked their waistbands and the insides of their shoes to ensure that they did not have drugs. Concertgoers could deposit contraband, including illegal drugs, in contraband boxes at the entry areas without getting in trouble.

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Road-Construction-Accident-Attorneys-CaliforniaIn California, road construction zones can be dangerous to motorists and construction crews. While most accidents that happen in road construction zones are caused by motorists, it is possible for the road construction companies to be responsible. In

Shipp v. Western Engineering, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. C087371, the California Court of Appeals considered a case in which a motorist alleged that the road construction contractor owed him a duty of care to safely control traffic traveling through a construction zone.[1]

Factual and procedural background

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manufacturing-plant-worker-injuriesWhile most workers who are injured at work will be limited to recovering benefits from workers’ compensation, some exceptions to the general rule exist. In Santos v. Crenshaw Manufacturing, Inc., , Cal. Ct. App. Case No. G057371, the appeals court considered whether an exception applied in a lawsuit filed by a worker whose hand was mutilated by a power press without a guard.

Factual and procedural background

In Jan. 2017, Marivel Santos was working at Crenshaw Manufacturing as a machine press operator. During the second week of the month, Santos’s supervisor, Jose Flores, told her to operate a machine using a die without protective guards. Her supervisor told her to operate it from the side with one hand while inserting her other hand inside of the machine to hold the material in place. When she did, her hand was crushed and mutilated by the machine. Santos filed a workers’ compensation claim against the company. She also filed a lawsuit against Crenshaw under the power press exception to the workers’ compensation law for the company’s failure to have guards installed on the machine.

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When people are injured by defective products while using them in a reasonably foreseeable manner, they may have the right to recover compensation to cover their losses. However, the alleged defect must have been the direct or proximate cause of an injury for liability to attach. In Shih v. Starbucks Corp., Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B299329, the court considered a case in which the plaintiff’s injury was fairly attenuated from the alleged product defect to determine whether liability should attach.[1]

Factual and procedural background

Tina Shih when to a Starbucks restaurant with a friend. Both ordered cups of tea, and Shih went to retrieve them from the pickup counter when they were ready. Shih noticed that the restaurant had placed the teas inside of double cups instead of using sleeves around the cups. She stated that while they were hot, she carried both drinks back to the table where her friend was seated. After placing the cups of tea on the table, Shih sat down. She took the lid off of her drink and bent forward to take a sip instead of picking it up to take a drink. As she leaned forward, her chair moved backward beneath her, causing her to lose her balance. Shih grabbed the edge of the table to regain her balance, which caused her cup of tea to spill. Shih suffered second-degree burns from the beverage spill and filed a lawsuit against Starbucks for negligence and product liability.

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California-Car-Accident-AttorneysPeople in California must use reasonable caution when they drive to try to prevent accidents and injuries to others traveling around them. However, when drivers are confronted with sudden and unexpected dangers, they are not expected to use the same degree of caution that they would in calmer situations. In Abdulkadhim v. Wu, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B298091, the court reviewed a case in which a man was forced to suddenly change lanes to avoid colliding with a stopped vehicle on the interstate when the man traveling behind him subsequently collided with the stopped vehicle.{1]

Factual and procedural background

Jasim Al-Kuraishi was driving his vehicle on Interstate !0 near Rosemead on Oct. 11, 2014, at 1:00 am. He was traveling in the westbound lane going approximately 70 mph. Tommy Wu was traveling in front of Al-Kuraishi in the same direction when Wu saw a vehicle that was stopped in the lane in front of him about 20 to 30 car lengths ahead. Wu changed lanes by moving into the high-occupancy vehicle lane and passed the stopped vehicle while traveling between 40 and 50 mph. After he passed the vehicle and was about 400 feet in front of it, he saw Al-Kuraishi’s vehicle crash into the stopped car in his rearview mirror. The force of the collision caused Al-Kuraishi’s vehicle to travel into a different lane, and his car was struck by a second vehicle in that lane that was also traveling around 70 mph. Wu stopped his vehicle after witnessing the collision and called 911. When the paramedics arrived, Al-Kuraishi was pronounced dead at the accident scene.

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California-Car-Accident-AttorneysPeople in California must use reasonable caution when they drive to try to prevent accidents and injuries to others traveling around them. However, when drivers are confronted with sudden and unexpected dangers, they are not expected to use the same degree of caution that they would in calmer situations. In Abdulkadhim v. Wu, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B298091, the court reviewed a case in which a man was forced to suddenly change lanes to avoid colliding with a stopped vehicle on the interstate when the man traveling behind him subsequently collided with the stopped vehicle.{1]

Factual and procedural background

Jasim Al-Kuraishi was driving his vehicle on Interstate 10 near Rosemead CA on Oct. 11, 2014, at 1:00 am. He was traveling in the westbound lane going approximately 70 mph. Tommy Wu was traveling in front of Al-Kuraishi in the same direction when Wu saw a vehicle that was stopped in the lane in front of him about 20 to 30 car lengths ahead. Wu changed lanes by moving into the high-occupancy vehicle lane and passed the stopped vehicle while traveling between 40 and 50 mph. After he passed the vehicle and was about 400 feet in front of it, he saw Al-Kuraishi’s vehicle crash into the stopped car in his rearview mirror. The force of the collision caused Al-Kuraishi’s vehicle to travel into a different lane, and his car was struck by a second vehicle in that lane that was also traveling around 70 mph. Wu stopped his vehicle after witnessing the collision and called 911. When the paramedics arrived, Al-Kuraishi was pronounced dead at the accident scene.

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company-car-accident-lawyerPeople who are injured in California accidents that are caused by the negligent actions of company drivers may be able to hold the employers vicariously liable to pay damages for the losses that they have suffered. However, employers are not liable under the coming and going rule for employees who are commuting to or from their jobs. If an exception applies, an employer may still be liable for the negligent actions of its employee while he or she is commuting to and from work. In Savaikie v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B291120, the California Court of Appeals considered whether the required vehicle use exception to the coming and going rule applied.[1]

Factual and procedural background

Wyatt Savaikie was a 14-year-old boy who was crossing the street in a crosswalk in Santa Clarita, California on July 16, 2015, when he was struck and killed by Ralph Steger. Steger was a volunteer who provided pet therapy to patients at Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. He had just completed his volunteer shift and had stopped at his bank before he hit Savaikie with his vehicle. Savaikie’s parents filed a lawsuit against Steger, the City of Santa Clarita, Southern California Edison, and the County of Los Angeles. The state of California was dismissed as a defendant, and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals was added. They argued that Kaiser was vicariously liable for Steger’s actions as his employer. They settled with all defendants except Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. Savaikie’s brother, Michael, witnessed the crash and filed a claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress against the defendants.

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forklift-accident-injury-attorneys-CaliforniaIn California, people who have been seriously injured by defectively designed products may be entitled to recover damages in a product liability lawsuit. The courts may instruct the jury about the tests that they should apply when evaluating an alleged design defect. However, as Verrazono v. Gehl Co., Cal. Ct. App. Case No. A152318 shows, the court is not always required to provide the instruction proposed by the plaintiff.[1] Some cases involving serious injuries from products will not provide the basis for the recovery of damages. (Note: for a full discussion on workplace injuries and how they can involve various types of claims including work comp, personal injury and product liability, click here).

Factual and procedural background

In 2012, Gary Verrazono was operating a rough terrain forklift at the Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma County. It tipped over, seriously injuring him. He then filed a lawsuit against Gehl Co., the manufacturer of the forklift, alleging that the forklift had a design defect because it lacked a non-removable door and a seatbelt system with more than two points. He also alleged that the forklift should have contained an interlock system that would have prevented its operation without the operator wearing the seatbelt. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defense.

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work-injury-claims-attorney-Los-AngelesPeople who are injured at work because of the negligence of a third party other than their employers may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits while also filing negligence lawsuits against the third party. However, if the victims are employed by an independent contractor that is hired by the negligent third party, the ability to recover damages through the third-party claim may be limited by the Privette rule unless an exception applies. In Horne v. Ahern Rentals, Inc., Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B299605, the appeals court reviewed a wrongful death claim against the hirer of the independent contractor for which the victim worked.[1]

Factual and procedural background

Ruben Dickerson was employed by 24-Hour Tire Service, a company that had contracted with Ahern Rentals to provide tire repair and tire change services for almost 10 years. Ahern Rentals was a company that rented forklifts and heavy machinery to construction businesses. Dickerson had been employed by 24-Hour Tire service for more than a decade before the date of his accident. He was killed on Nov. 24, 2015, while he was changing the tires on a forklift while on the premises of Ahern Rentals. His surviving family members recovered workers’ compensation benefits from 24-Hour Tire Service’s insurance provider. They subsequently filed a personal injury claim against Ahern Rentals, alleging that the company was negligent in its failure to provide a level surface for the tire replacement work.

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