Thursday, October 29, 2009

Student Receives $37,500 Settlement for Crushed Finger

A former Huntington Beach student received $37,500 in settlement after suing the school for a crushed finger.

According to the civil lawsuit, Alexina Karsh, 19, injured her finger when a campus door suddenly closed due to strong winds. The door, which was part of a campus remodeling, closed in her finger crushing it.

The finger was not broken but it bled profusely and required stitches.

The district official denied the allegations claiming that Karsh was negligent and failed to use the doors properly.

The two parties, though, agreed on a settlement that concluded this case.

However, a lot of people did raise their eyebrows at the amount of the settlement.

Under the premises liability law, the school does have a responsibility to keep the students free from obvious and hidden dangers.

However, the incident was an isolated case.

To prove a premises liability case, one of the elements needed is that the officials should have or could have known about the danger.

And since this is the first incident, they could have argued that there was no way they could have known about the school hazard.

Another point is that, although the finger bled profusely and needed stitches, it was in no way a serious injury.

The finger was not even broken so $37,500 seems to be a bit much.

In addition, they could have also argued some comparative negligence on the part of Karsh.

Anyway, the parties have agreed on the personal injury settlement, and we do not know all the details of the lawsuit.

The important thing is that both parties are now able to move on from the incident.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Driver Who Caused Multi Vehicle Collision Died at UCI Med

The man that caused a multi-vehicle collision the other day died after sustaining serious injuries in the accident.

According to reports, Martin Espinoza, 55, died at about 3:25 a.m. at UCI Medical Center in Orange.

The car accident started when the 1994 Dodge that Ezpinoza was driving failed to stop in time when he was approaching Adams Avenue from Brookhurst Avenue.

He eventually rear-ended a Dodge Caravan that triggered a chain reaction, which ended up damaging 6 vehicles.

The driver of the Dodge Caravan, Paige Beyer, 38, was treated for pain in the arms and legs

Nobody else was injured in the collision.

But what if there were people seriously hurt from the accident, now that the liable party died, can they still file for a personal injury case?

The answer is yes.

It does not matter, because you will actually end up not really going against the liable party but their insurance company.

The insurance company is who you should be worrying about because they are the ones who are actually going to make the payment so they will also be the one who will try to discredit your case.

So alive or dead, the personal injury claim can still continue.

You should consult a personal injury attorney though; insurance companies would have their own legal team to disprove your claim.

The help of an expert attorney should even the odds.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Famous R&B Singer Involved in Fatal Accident

When someone does a negligent act, he or she will be punished if proven guilty because the law applies to everyone. Today, a number of celebrities are constantly involved in different road accidents. They should remember that they can also be punished by law and their money will not save them from imprisonment if they are convicted.

Another celebrity is rumored to have been involved in a fatal crash. Brandy, a known R&B singer, was reportedly involved in an accident the previous month. Using the statements given by a witness, it appears like the incident happened due to her fault.

According to authorities, the accident occurred on the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles. The singer was driving her 2007 Land Rover at a speed of 65 mph and failed to see that vehicles in front had already reduced speed. Her vehicle reportedly hit a 2005 Toyota, causing the car to smash into a 1989 Toyota.

Then, the 2005 Toyota slid sideways and struck the center divider. A 1988 Acura then hit the 2005 Toyota as it came to a stop.

According to Brandy’s publicist, the singer has confirmed that she was indeed involved in the fatal accident.

The 2005 Toyota driver, Awatef Aboudihaj, 38, from Los Angeles, was in a critical condition when she was brought to Holy Cross Hospital. The woman reportedly died the following day.

Brandy was unharmed and the Acura driver sustained moderate injuries.
The singer was not detained and there is no proof that alcohol or drugs were involved.

Authorities are conducting a mechanical investigation of the vehicles involved to establish whether there was a malfunction.

Brandy will surely be punished if pieces of evidence establish her fault in the accident. She should have followed the traffic rules because a person’s life might be save by doing it.

Californians Suffer from Unemployment and Loss of Health Insurance

Health insurance is a benefit provided to employees. Through this insurance, financial help will be given to employees in the event that they acquired an illness. Due to the assistance it can give, many people rely on it to lessen their expenses.

However, a report released by Families USA showed that an estimated number of about 661,600 Californian’s who were laid off from their jobs also lost their health insurance.

The organization projected that four million additional Americans nationwide are going without such insurance this year compared to the previous one because they lost their jobs.

Although COBRA allows employees to continue their health insurance after the ties between them and their employer ends, it is often not an option for laid off employees because of its expensive price.

Families USA projects that the nationwide average monthly COBRA premium for individuals is $388 and for family is 1,069. Family premiums In 40 states and California, on the average, consume over three-fourths of regular unemployment insurance benefits.

Although the Congress approved a 65% COBRA subsidy as a part of the stimulus package, not more than four in every ten employees continued their coverage, the report stated.

It is clear that the government is trying to help laid off employees to overcome their financial problems. However, the extent of help provided is not enough to actually elevate the lives of these people.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Stadium worker’s Slip and Fall Accident before Charger’s Game

A stadium worker identified as Walt Daniels fell 20-25 feet from the visiting coaches’ booth three hours before the game between the Chargers and the Broncos.

Daniels, who walks with a cane, was putting together program packages for dispersal to the media when he stumbled down the stairs and rolled out of Booth 35C at around 2:34 p.m.

He landed on the seats below where the Security team performed CPR on him.

Medics were able to revive him and he was brought to a hospital later.

I would recommend that he consult with a personal injury lawyer right away. If he has insurance, then he should notify them immediately as well.

Depending on the details of the cause of the accident, he may have some legal options available.

First, if the injury makes him unable to work, he could file for a worker’s compensation.

However, if the stadium owner is his boss, he will also be surrendering his right to sue them.

If he chooses to sue instead of availing worker’s compensation, he may have a cause for a premises liability case.

But again, it will depend on the details of the slip and fall accident.

The burden of proof will fall upon him to prove that the stadium owner’s negligence had caused the accident that resulted to his injuries.

That would be difficult as he would have to prove that there was a hazard in the stadium and that the owner failed to address the dangers that it poses.

To make sure that he is making the right move, he should consult with a personal injury lawyer to give him the pros and cons of his legal options.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Maria’s Mistake: Cell phone Use While Driving

According to the US Department of Transportation, nearly 6,000 people were killed and a half-million were injured in car crashes caused by distracted driving in 2008. They said that using a mobile phone while driving is almost as dangerous as driving drunk.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has reported that in a nationwide survey last 2008, female drivers more frequently use hand-held cell phones than male drivers. Apparently, even the First Lady of California and Kennedy scion, Maria Shriver is not immune to the bad driver habit of using a cell phone while driving.

She recently got caught on video using her cell phone while driving in Brentwood. A rather ironic twist as it was her husband, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who made cell phone use illegal while driving.

In California, there is in fact a primary enforcement of a jurisdiction-wide ban on driving while talking on a hand-held cell phone.

All drivers are prohibited from using a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle although motorists 18 years old and over may use a “hands-free device.”

The first offense base fine for subsequent convictions is $20 and $50. But along with penalty assessments, the fine can be more than triple the base fine amount.

Governor Schwarzenegger said that there will be swift action regarding his wife’s cell phone law violation and recently, Maria Shriver has announced that she will donate her favorite old cell phone to a program that helps domestic violence shelters.

It just goes to show that distracted driving is an encompassing problem which affects even influential people,like celebrities and government officials whom the public often hold in high esteem. Picking up a call while driving may seem like a harmless thing but the bottomline is, it is still against the law. Maria Shriver’s well-publicized cell phone use infraction just shows that no one is above the law.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

[Blog Action Day] Speeding your way to climate change

The earth is like your body. It doesn’t revert back to its original state. Once you’ve abused it, there are serious effects afterwards—and it won’t be pretty. Putting anything that is not natural to it, the body will rebel and so will the earth.

These days, major problems of pollution, toxic waste materials and different diseases are signs of a different environment from circa 1980s. How can you exactly become more aware and actually help save our planet? It shouldn’t be just a trend to begin with. You have to make a real effort doing so.

One way to make a difference is through cars. Nope, I’m not talking about using green cars—although related. These days are a lot of people carrying car advertisements that speaks out loud climate change health warnings. The brighter and catchier the ads are, the better. These ads compete with the brand or the look of the car.

Ads may vary from the typical “Help Save the Planet” or “Go Green.” Why not wrap the entire car with a picture of the earth and its devastating effects? Maybe that will catch your attention.

But it shouldn’t be used as a business for the big guys to earn money. That’s when everything turns sour. Using global warming as a platform to gain big bucks is wrong. It’s taking advantage instead of doing something that will benefit everyone.

So the question is, is it even remotely effective? It does disseminate awareness since it passes through different people on the streets. Well with the advertisements on fuel efficiency, using green cars and saving on every single penny, perhaps it promotes awareness.

There were plans for cars to have color-coded emissions labels. Exactly like the ones stick on fridges and washing machines. And yes, colors it is—from dark green to red. There are bumper stickers on vehicles that tell us their rated emission.

In Europe, car ads have guidelines that cover issues on safety and environment, which are followed as basic principles by advertising agencies to promote cars.

Lately, there had been a lot of advertising done on vehicles which the going green bandwagon has joined the team.

No increase on MWD benefits

Apart from wages, many employees depend on their benefits to help them through hard times. Any increase either in salary or benefits is mostly welcome.

However, any hope of increase in benefits for employees of Metropolitan Water District (MWD) in Southern California had been cut off.

In a memo, General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said that the current financial condition does not allow any increase in benefits. Moreover, the employees’ concession in a five-year labor pact would be more than sufficient to pay for the increased pension benefit.

Critics noted, however, that the concessions were short-term while the pension benefits were long-term.

The decision not to grant the benefit increase affected about 2,000 employees. Consequently, protests erupted pushing for the increase. Protesters alleged that since MWD had raised water rates by double digits, the proposed increase could be sufficiently covered.

In a public debate, MWD board Chairman Timothy Brick claimed that the labor deal in its entirety would help reduce water bills.

Employee-employer relationship could be very complicated. Issues on salary or benefit increase can be a sensitive matter to deal with. As employer tries its best to save on costs, employees, on the other hand, push on increase to make ends meet t during the hard times.

If employees feel like they deserve an increase in salary or benefits, an employment attorney may be consulted to pursue their cause. Any employer’s unfair practice may be a subject of a labor case.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

CA Passes 2 Laws on Ignition Interlock Device

Motor vehicle crashes involving drunk drivers had claimed a total of 11,773 lives last 2008. Many of these drunk drivers are repeat offenders or have been previously convicted of drunk driving.

Convicted drunken drivers, around 50 to 75 percent of them still continue to drink and drive despite having their licenses suspended. They make up for 1/3 of the drunk driving problem in the US.

Recently, the State of California, through Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has signed two new laws which strike directly at the issue of curbing drunk driving: ignition interlock device.

The first law, Assembly Bill 91, creates a pilot project where the installation of ignition interlock devices is required for individuals convicted of DUI in the counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Tulare and Sacramento.

The second law, which was authored by Sen. Bob Huff, allows repeat DUI offenders to apply for restricted licenses if they install such devices.

Ignition interlock devices can prevent inebriated persons from driving their cars – the driver would have to driver would have to blow into it in order before the ignition starts. The car will not start if the driver has a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.

Studies have shown that ignition interlocks can decrease repeat offenses by 64%.
California is now one of the 12 states with ignition interlock programs such as Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah and Washington.

This is great news for a lot of Los Angeles residents, drunk drivers cannot be road hazards if they can’t get their cars to start in the first place.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Deputy not charge over Gibson’s arrest leak

Investigations regarding arrests of traffic violators must remain confidential. This is made to prevent any undue influence or comment that other people might have on the issue that could sensationalize the case. This is especially true if the case involved a celebrity like Mel Gibson.

When details about Mel Gibson’s arrest leaked, an investigation was made against Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy James Mee. The investigation was centered on how details about Gibson’s anti-Semitic tirade leaked.

Harvey Levine, founder of a celebrity website, said that he did not pay anyone to get the details posted on the site. In 2006, the site posted Gibson’s rants following his drunken driving arrest.

Mee, on the other hand, denied leaking the details. Upon review, the prosecutors determined that aside from Mee, two other individuals had access to the information but no case was filed against them. Moreover, as to who made the call first between Levin and Mee was hard to trace.

After an investigation and in a nine page evaluation sheet, the prosecutors ruled on not pressing charges against Mee for lack of proof.

Drunk driving is not only penalized by law but also considered dangerous to other motorists. The investigation of a drunken charge must be of the same and equal standards whether the violator is a celebrity or not.

For victims of driving under the influence, personal injury attorneys may be consulted to file a compensation claims against the drunk driver.

Bus Driver Saves a Lost Child from Traffic

Although the law doesn’t require us to save anyone who is in danger, conscience dictates that we help people in need, especially if it is a small child who cannot protect himself or herself against any kind of danger.

This is exactly what a school bus driver did when she saved a four-year-old boy who was in the middle of traffic along Beach Boulevard in Westminster.

At least eight cars had avoided the child when he was spotted by Valerie Flanagan, a school bus driver working for Garden Grove Unified School District.

As it turned out, the child has been reported missing by his mother for almost ten minutes after the police was informed that the bus driver had the toddler, said Westminster police Sgt. Dan Schoonmaker.

It is good to know that people like Flanagan are still around who care about other people’s safety and welfare. However, the other drivers should not have ignored the child’s need of being rescued.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Putting Cameras to Metrolink Commuter Trains to Avoid Accidents

Monitoring the actions of workers may stimulate them to work hard. In addition, it may also be one way of preventing them from doing negligent acts.

Metrolink declared its plans of activating video cameras in all of its 52 passenger trains.

This plan is a response to an accident that happened last Sept. 12, 2008 wherein 25 people were killed when a Metrolink passenger train and a Union Pacific freight train collided head-on.

Robert Sanchez, the Metrolink engineer who also died due to the collision, was found to have been texting seconds prior to the accident.

The cameras will monitor each locomotive’s cab. Cameras will also be faced outward to record every activity that is a happening in front of the train.

Both visual and audio will be recorded.

However, this move is being opposed by the union which represents the nation’s train engineers. A number of safety experts also question its effectiveness.

Before opposing this plan, everyone should first give the rail transit system a chance to find out whether this strategy will bring in good results.

Those who are not in favor of it should state out their reasons why they feel that way. By doing this, adjustments may be made to further strengthen Metrolink’s course of action.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Missing Elderly Man found in Overturned Car

Today, the issue concerning elderly drivers is widely talked about. However, no stricter rule has been currently imposed that will prevent an elderly from operating a vehicle once they are impaired by their physical condition.

The capacity of the elderly to avoid an accident is significantly reduced because they now have poor eyesight and slower reflexes.

These may be the reasons why an 88-year-old driver was reported missing when his family failed to communicate with him as he was driving home.

According to California Highway Patrol (CHP), the man who was reported missing for several hours was later found in an overturned car near the San Pablo Reservoir in Orinda.

He was located after the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office tracked his GPS location through his mobile phone signal. The information was then given to a CHP helicopter crew.

The crew was conducting their second circling along the area when they saw an overturned car located 300 feet below a steep embankment and in thick trees and brush, out of view from the ground.

He suffered from cold exposure and minor bruises and scrapes.

Accidents involving the elderly may be avoided if they accept the fact that they are no longer fit to drive. If a stricter rule concerning their driving is actually implemented, they should follow it wholeheartedly.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Oscar-Winning Screenwriter Convicted for Fatal DUI

Roger Avary, a screen writer known for movies such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Beowulf” was sentenced to one year imprisonment and five years probation for the fatal accident he caused last year.

Avary earlier pled guilty to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and drinking under the influence of alcohol.

Reports indicate that the accident which happened in 2008 involved the death of Avery’s passenger and injuries of his wife after she was ejected from the vehicle when they hit a telephone pole.

Avary’s accident is among the estimated 34,000 fatal vehicular accidents which were reported in 2008.

These accidents can be prevented only if all motorists would be extra cautious while on the road and avoid driving while drunk.