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Mop bucket and caution sign

California companies have a duty of care to keep their premises in reasonably safe conditions for their visitors. (NOTE: For a full summary of California law on accident and injury claims on commercial property, click here). There are limits to this duty of care, however. In Peralta v. The Vons Company, Cal. Court of Appeals, case no. B282130, the extent of the duty of care owed to visitors was explored.

Background of the case

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When lawsuits are filed by plaintiffs against hospitals in California, the hospitals may file motions for summary judgment if there are no triable material issues of fact. In order to prevail on a motion for summary judgment, a hospital may call an expert witness to opine that the hospital met the reasonable standard of care. If the expert’s testimony indicates that the reasonable standard of care was met, the burden of proof then shifts to the plaintiff to show that there are still material issues of triable fact. If the plaintiff is unable to present evidence that there are remaining issues of triable fact, the court may dismiss the lawsuit. However, as Doe v. Good Samaritan Hospital Inc., Cal. App. 5th, Case No. F073934 shows, the burden will not shift to the plaintiff in cases in which an expert’s testimony is purely conclusory without any underlying facts to support the opinion.

Factual background

The plaintiff was a 12-year-old boy who had a history of Asperger’s syndrome and bipolar disorder. He was voluntarily admitted to the Good Samaritan Hospital, a psychiatric facility, after suffering from homicidal and suicidal ideations because of his treatment at school. At the hospital, he was placed in a room with a 10-year-old boy who had been involuntarily committed called K.W. The 10-year-old boy had been placed in the facility on a psychiatric hold because of homicidal ideations and an assault on his stepfather that required medical treatment. He was also thought to be a danger to his two younger brothers.

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When people in California are injured in accidents because of the negligence or recklessness of other drivers, they may face devastating injuries that require complex treatment. People who file lawsuits in California to recover damages may recover their past and future medical expenses. If they are insured, their damages recovery will be limited to the amounts that their insurance companies have paid rather than the actual value of the care that was provided. In Pebley v. Santa Clara Organics LLC, 2d Civ. No. B277893, the California Court of Appeals ruled in a case on whether an insured plaintiff is required to stay within his or her own medical plan when seeking treatment for injuries following an accident in order to mitigate the resulting damages.

Factual Background

Plaintiff David Pebley was returning with his wife from a camping trip in the couple’s motor home on May 9, 2011. While Pebley’s wife was driving the motor home east on the 126 Freeway in Ventura County, one of the tires flattened. Mrs. Pebley steered the motor home onto the right shoulder of the freeway, turned on her hazard lights and stopped. A portion of the motor home’s rear end was still extending into a part of the lane. Mrs. Pebley saw a tractor-trailer approaching the motor home while traveling at approximately 50 mph in her rearview mirror. The truck crashed into the rear of the motor home with enough force that the passenger seat where Mr. Pebley was sitting broke. David Pebley suffered serious injuries to his back, neck, face and teeth. He was treated at a hospital and then released, but he required ongoing follow-up treatment for injuries to the vertebrae in his cervical spine.

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construction-site-accident-attorneysIn California, people who are injured while they are working may recover workers’ compensation benefits through their employers’ insurance carriers. In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, workers who are injured at work may be able to recover damages from third parties that were negligent and contributed to their accidents’ causes. In Anaya v. General Equipment & Supplies. Inc, et al., Los Angeles County Case No. BC594187, the family of a worker who was killed at work sued a third-party manufacturer of the equipment with which he was working.

Factual background of the case

A 34-year-old maintenance worker was working at RJ Noble on Oct. 7, 2013. The man was pulled into a rock-crushing machine that was being operated without its guards. The machine was manufactured by General Equipment & Supplies. Inc. A lawsuit on behalf of the man’s three minor children was filed against General Equipment & Supplies and Fab Tec, the company that manufactured the safety guards. Fab Tec settled the claim against it prior to trial for $750,000. The claim against General Equipment & Supplies proceeded to a jury trial.

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Uber-Sexual-Assault-LawsuitsWomen in cities across the U.S. have reported being sexually assaulted by Uber drivers after ordering rides through the company’s ride-share app. Two women filed a lawsuit against Uber in November 2017 for its alleged failure to conduct stringent background checks. Seven more women were added to the lawsuit as plaintiffs through an amendment. Uber has responded by filing a motion to compel arbitration of the women’s claims, an action that the women and their attorneys are fighting. When there is a forced arbitration clause contained in a user agreement, there are some situations in which the court may invalidate it and allow the cases to proceed through the court system instead of arbitration. (Note: for a general overview of California law on civil lawsuits for sexual assault, visit our related post here ).

Background

In Nov. 2017, two women filed a lawsuit against Uber after they were sexually assaulted by Uber drivers. The lawsuit was certified as a class action because hundreds of women across the U.S. have allegedly been raped by Uber drivers. The women are suing Uber because the company allegedly has inadequate background screening systems in place for its drivers. Uber filed a motion with the court in February requesting that the court compel arbitration in the case. The plaintiffs filed an amendment to the complaint on March 15 in which seven women were added as plaintiffs. The women and their attorneys are fighting the motion to compel arbitration and want to keep the case in federal court.

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Left-Hand Turn Accidents in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, a large number of accidents are caused by people turning left at intersections without yielding to oncoming drivers. In some cases, the drivers who turned left might try to argue that the oncoming vehicle’s driver was at fault if the driver was speeding. In Jessica Berrones v. Hailey Andrews and AndrewsAG, Inc., Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC 610177, the defendant driver attempted to make the argument that the plaintiff was at fault for the accident that injured her because she was speeding. However, the defendant’s argument was unsuccessful.

Factual background of the case

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Auto Pedestrian Accidents

California employers are liable for the negligent actions of their employees when the workers are working within the course and scope of their jobs. When a worker negligently injures another person while working, both the worker and his or her company may be liable to pay damages. In Hernan Osorio v. Wesley T. Williams, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC597023, a jury decided a case in which the course and scope of employment and soft tissue injuries were at issue.

Factual background of the case

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personal-injury-law-CaliforniaThe California Supreme Court recently ruled in Regents of the University of California v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County that universities in the state have a duty to protect their students from violent acts that are foreseeable. The case involved a lawsuit that was filed by a student at UCLA who was stabbed by a classmate while she was in an on-campus lab. People who have been attacked on college campuses might want to consult with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer about the rights that they might have.

Factual background of the case

Damon Thompson was a student at UCLA who began experiencing persecutory auditory hallucinations and delusions that other students were plotting against him and talking badly about him. Thompson had transferred to UCLA in 2008. He emailed his history professor after his final and stated that other students had made offensive comments during the test that angered him. The professor sent the email to the chair of the department, who advised him to recommend that Thompson get help from the school’s counseling department.

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Autonomous Vehicles

As numerous companies work to develop their self-driving cars in California, a recent crash in Arizona in which a pedestrian was killed by an autonomous Uber vehicle demonstrates that these vehicles are still in the development phase and may not be ready for mass distribution. When people are injured or killed in accidents with self-driving cars, there will likely be complex liability and insurance issues that arise. If these accidents are caused by the vehicles, it is possible that the families of people who are killed may be able to hold the companies liable under theories of negligence and strict products liability. Families may want to talk to personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles when they lose loved ones in accidents involving autonomous vehicles.

The Arizona case

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Bike Lane Accidents in California

Property owners in California have a duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition so that visitors to their properties will be safe. When a property owner fails to correct a dangerous condition that should have reasonably been discovered or that the property owner knew existed, the property owner may be liable to pay damages if a visitor to the property is injured because of the dangerous condition. In Joseph C. Wessling v. Pacific Bell Telephone Company, et al., Santa Cruz County Superior Court, Case No. CV178079, the liability of a telephone company that owned a manhole in a bicycle accident was explored.

The factual background of the case

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