Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Insights on School Bus Accidents and Negligence

School buses are of great help especially when we cannot take our children to school by ourselves. To and from school, we entrust the safety of our children to these school buses. However, a rather unfortunate accident can happen for some of us.

School bus accident is not unheard of across the country. More often than not, these accidents involved negligence on the part of the bus driver. Despite numerous tests, clearances, requirement compliance, etc. that bus drivers undergo, still some manage to be negligent and put our children’s safety at risk.

We see and hear that school bus accidents have risen. While we can no longer bring back time to undo the unfortunate event that cause the loss of our child, or injuries, because of the accident, we are not however completely helpless. The law is in our side and we only have to invoke it.

From year 1990 to 2001, there were recorded 50,000 to 63,000 bus accidents in the US. The figure includes school, transit and intercity buses. Death toll is rather low, fortunately, but injuries reached a staggering figure of 15,000 to 21,000.

A civil suit for recovery of compensation for wrongful death may be pursued by the family of the children who were victim of the school bus accident. This is not to enrich them but to vindicate them for the loss of a loved one.

If the bus was operating illegally such as when it turned out that the bus company was not authorized to operate as a carrier in intestate commerce, then it may be facing more legal repercussion that its owners or operators care to imagine.

Statistics shows that there are at least 360 million bus passengers in the US each year, while there are 30,000 commercial buses for tours, charters, special operations and regular route services.

Being Gay in California

Admitting you are gay is never a ticket for one to tease or discriminate you in any way.

Discrimination can be in several forms. It can be verbal or non-verbal. It could be through actions like imitating a “cat walk” whenever one sees a gay employee or leaving a tiara at his desk.

Whenever one feels that he is in a hostile environment, then he is being discriminated against.

The policy against gay discrimination is clear in California. Laws in California specifically protect homosexuals, heterosexuals and bisexuals from gender or sex discrimination. The protection even extended to transsexuals and transgenders.

In a 4-3 decision, California Supreme Court struck ban on gay marriage.The decision declared that no less than the fundamental law protects ones right to marry his or her choice. It furthered that state’s ban on same sex marriage would not be in keeping with its policy against gender discrimination.

Consequently, hundreds of couples in a same sex relationship grab the opportunity and wed before the ruling is overturned.

One thing is for sure, we have to live by this ruling of the Supreme Court. Even the governor said that he would not take steps to amend the constitution or support any movement to that effect.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Samaritans in the Freeway, Beware

Freeway crashes are fatal and sometimes, could end up in disasters and unnecessary loss of lives. In many fatal freeway accidents, the victims are likely to suffer serious injuries or death.

As vehicle crashes are truly devastating; a freeway accident may lead to another as shown in the article, “Freeway Accidents are Often Fatal: Contact a Los Angeles Injury Lawyer”, posted on October 17, 2008.

According to this article, a motorist lost control of the vehicle and crashed. As another motorist tried to stop over to help the victim, a utility truck struck the car followed by another truck. As a result, the female driver died while the Samaritan motorist, who was just trying to help, suffered serious injuries.

A freeway accident can be twice more dangerous as in other places like city streets or minor roads. The extreme speeds of vehicles while they travel on the freeway make it a truly dangerous place, discounting all other factors such as weather conditions and vehicle malfunction.

Thus, for people who get involve in minor accidents and those who are willing to lend a hand, they must see to it first that their vehicles have been moved safely to the side of the road before exposing themselves to traffic.

If you happen to get stuck in the middle of traffic with a malfunctioning car, be sure to put up an early warning device at a safe distance from your vehicle to warn oncoming vehicles of the emergency. You can also put on your vehicle signal lights on hazard mode.

Getting involved in a vehicle accident, especially a freeway crash, is truly difficult – sometimes, devastating. But if you happen to be involved in one, consulting with a car accident lawyer can help you recover from the injuries that you may incur from it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Default Judgment: A Defendant’s Mistake and Negligence?

Default judgment in a civil lawsuit happen when a defendant fails to appear before the court or fails to respond to summons. Generally, it is a binding judgment handed down by the court in favor of the plaintiff or the complainant.

The article, “A Lesson on Default Judgments”, posted in October 17, 2008, offers some advice on how to respond to default judgment and ask the court to “set aside” a default judgment.

In damages claim or tort lawsuit, the court often enters the amount of damages in the original complaint when a default judgment is made.

However, a defendant can have a default judgment vacated or set aside. Code of Civil Procedure section 473 provides the standards on how to ask the court to have such judgment vacated or set aside.

Under this section, a defendant may seek relief from default judgment provided he has a good reason for his failure to answer the complaint or defend the lawsuit.

In California, the courts allow and recognize the following grounds to have a default judgment set aside or vacated:

• Mistake – when a person knows the facts but has mistaken belief of the legal consequences of those facts

• Inadvertence – when inadvertence is the result of inattention or negligence

• Surprise- when a party is placed in an “injurious legal situation”

• Excusable neglect – this includes illness, failure to respond because you relied on your lawyer, failure to appear in trial because you relied on misinformation of a court officer

• You were not given “actual notice” to defend yourself – by actual notice, this means that a party genuinely knows of the litigation.

At any rate, you can avoid these hassles in legal procedures if you give yourself proper time to select a credible litigation lawyer to handle your case.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bicycle Accident Kills Mom, Injures 14-year Old Son

The California Highway Patrol’s SWITRS reported that in 2006, there were no reported bicycle accident related deaths in Seal Beach. But the same was broken last week when a mother was killed and her 14-year old son suffered injuries.

The OC Register reported the accident.

The mom and her autistic son were said to be riding their bicycle when they were hit by a truck. The truck, a blue Ford, hit the mother and son and crashed into a eucalyptus tree on Lampson Avenue, east of Seal Beach Boulevard.

Cathy Busse was pronounced dead on Tuesday and was taken off life support on Wednesday.

Bicycle has become a common form of transportation in California besides cars. Tourists love it for sight seeing and health buffs like it to keep in shape. But because bike depends on human power, it has limited capacity like humans do.

Drivers on a motorized wheel oftentimes undermine, or ignore, bicycle riders. Because of this, bicycle accidents, when they occur, oftentimes end up badly.

If you have been injured while riding your bike without fault of your own but by the negligence of other drivers, you must pursue a personal injury claim.

Remember that you are protected under the law and a bicycle crash lawyer in California can help you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Employment Rights of a Disabled Person

Under the law, persons with disability (PWD) are given equal opportunity to engage in gainful employment. The employment rights of disabled persons are guaranteed by various federal and state disability rights laws and one of these includes the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

As discussed in the article, “Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Prohibits Discrimination Against Federal Employees with Disabilities”, posted on August 17, 2008, this act is intended to protect employees with disability from discrimination from work or jobs that are “conducted by federal agencies, or programs receiving federal funds and to be employed in businesses with federal contracts”.

Primarily, this Act was designed to help disabled employees in “preparing and engaging in gainful employment to the extent of their capabilities”. In other words, it helps them to find a suitable job and use their skills in employment as a way to improve and ‘rehabilitate’ their lives.

Under the program, an eligible employee has the option either “to develop his own Individualized Plan for Employment Services, which can be tailored to his specific needs through an Individualized Plan for Employment or request the assistance of a qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor to help him in determining his special needs”.

Other federal disability rights laws are also beneficial to disabled employees. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is another law that protects employees against disability discrimination. Like the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, this law also provides employees with necessary adjustments in the workplace called “reasonable accommodation”, also designed to help disabled workers by making changes or improvements in equipment design and functions.

A disabled worker who experiences discrimination issues or finds difficulty at work regarding his disability or impairment can always seek the assistance of an employment lawyer to resolve the problem.

Monday, October 20, 2008

New Car: Not worth Every Penny

We often think that only small vehicles like motorcycles are prone to accidents. This belief came to being maybe because small vehicles are no match for other vehicles on the streets such as SUVs, minivans, trucks, etc.

But did you know that even large vehicles are prone to accidents, too? Take for example in the case of SUVs. SUV rollover accidents are becoming a trend. In fact, another rollover accident happened just this week. Full story can be read at

Roll over accidents are not only often caused by negligence. It may also be due to manufacture defects or mechanical make up of the vehicle. Just imagine buying a new car just to find out that it is rollover prone!

This type of accident is usually related to the vehicle's stability. It is dictated by the relationship between the track width or the distance of the right and lefts tires and the center of the gravity. This relationship could be very well determined at the manufacturing stage. That is why I have pointed out earlier that it is not only due to negligent driving.

As of now, no federal roll over standard is followed but some are pushing into having one. Having a standard will help verify which vehicles are prone to rollover. To this effect, a rollover rating system has been presented by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2001.

A death of a loved one or an injury sustained because of rollover accident is devastating. The effect may be very traumatic especially if the accident is due to the fault of the manufacturer. Certainly, it is not worth your every penny so to speak.

Should you be a victim of a rollover accident, you may pursue a claim against the erring party. You just have to hire the best rollover accident lawyer to win your case.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Complications in a Car Crash

Car accidents are common occurrence in most roads and highways across the country. And as the number of accidents rise, the causes are no less varied as the countless names of victims involved in such incidents.

But even ordinary accidents may turn out to be serious and more complicated when other elements come into play. Take the case of the accident mentioned in the article “Two Killed in San Jose Car Accident”, posted on October 14, 2008.

The rollover incident, a type of accident popular among SUVs, involved a Ford Explorer. What made this incident extraordinary and newsworthy is that it involved an 18-year-old boy and five other young children between the ages of 4 and 15 years old.

Added to the complication of being the injured party in the accident, the young man’s vehicle was discovered to be ill equipped with its safety mechanisms like child seats and seat belts. For instance, the seat belts were unable to protect the passengers of the car, which cause the passengers to be ejected from their seats during collision impact, resulting in serious injuries.

The four-year old passenger, the youngest occupant of the vehicle, reportedly suffered a broken leg, while a 6-year-old suffered a broken arm, and the 10-year old suffered facial lacerations.

According to the report, the Explorer hit another car, a Nissan, as it lost control before finally crashing. But compared to the occupants of the Explorer, the driver and passenger of the Nissan car only suffered minor injuries.

Several factors may be considered in determining the causes of a rollover. Generally, car accidents are the result of recklessness or negligence of drivers. In this case, one can clearly rule out the responsibility of another party. Otherwise, factors such as vehicle manufacturing defects and external conditions may be taken into consideration.

Finding fault in a rollover incident may be as complex as the accident itself. In this case, one would definitely need the assistance of an expert, preferably a lawyer, to establish fault and liability in the accident.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Consequential Issues under the New ADA Amendments

California employees who are victims of discrimination based on disability have a reason to rejoice. Under the new amendment to the federal law, employees can expect to receive more protections as amendments to the old ADA have widened the scope of disability.

According to ”New Federal Law Provides more Disability Discrimination Protection to CA Employees: Amendment to Americans with Disabilities Act”, posted on October 9, 2008, the new legislation will result in more individuals claiming protection under the broader scope of the new law.

With the implementation of the amendments, more employees are expected to file discrimination claims and lawsuits. For employers, this would mean added work, as they are expected to make improvements and necessary changes in workplace policies and regulations. This would also mean making adjustments to provide reasonable accommodations to more disabled employees.

Although changes in the law have been introduced, the same processes are followed and the same requirements are applied when making or filing claims. In sum, the major change in the law is in the broader scope of the term and the effects it could bring to many employers.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Road safety: A matter of choice

Accidents in the major highways and thoroughfares are becoming part of our daily living. Not a day passes by without it.

Just this week, another accident at Southbound I-15 near Barstow happened. Five people were injured and no fatalities were reported though.

Repeatedly, we are being cautioned from the debilitating effects of accidents. But it seems that we are continuously playing in the ring of death so to speak. We never learned our lesson from the experiences of others.

Accidents, just like any other occurrences, are preventable. By observing the diligence of a cautious man, we may be freed form injuries. We can also save lives. Observing road signs, traffic rules and speed limit are some steps we can take to prevent it.

Admittedly, though, there are moments when we are just being lured by fate into it. Sometimes, its just have to happen and unluckily, we are there at that moment. We are just caught unaware.

However, in most cases, accidents are caused by negligence of people - of the driver, pedestrian or passenger. Drunk driving and use of the phone while driving are some negligent acts attributed to humans while road condition, weather condition, negligence of others are instances beyond our control.

The bottom line is, to be involved or not in any vehicular accident lies in our own hands. We have the power to dictate our fate on the road. It is just a matter of choice.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Recovering Claims in Sexual Harassment Suit

Bringing a sexual harassment suit against one’s tormentor often entails hardship, not only in terms of the legal processes involved but also in the emotional difficulties one has to undergo.

The article, “Jury Deliberating Gay-Pride Suit Adjourns for Day”, posted on October 1, 2008, is an update report on the sexual harassment charge filed by four San Diego firefighters after being subjected to “sexually-charged scenes and lewd comments” in last year’s gay parade celebrations in the city.

The firefighters complained that after bringing up the matter to their superiors, they were mistreated and continued to receive offensive remarks.

Because of the experience, the four victims said they suffered “headaches, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome and other emotional problems.

Generally, a victim may file a claim for injuries suffered as a result of the sexual offenses. These injuries are not necessarily physical ones but are emotional injuries suffered by the victim.

In most cases, a victim may file a claim for the recovery of the following things:

• Damages for emotional distress

• Back pay (multiplied by three times) if you lost money or missed out on a raise

• Fringe benefits lost

• Reinstatement, if you lost your job

• A requirement that your employer initiate policies or training to stop harassment

• attorney's fees and court costs