Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Occupants not Wearing Seatbelts in Palmdale Accident that Killed Two, Injured Three Others

Seatbelts have been proven to lessen the number of fatalities in accidents. In fact, a lot of victims of car accidents have attributed their survival to their seatbelts.

Needless to say, the neglect of using these safety devices can have serious consequences like what happened in a recent accident.

According to reports, a pick-up broadsided an out-of-control Mercedes in Palmdale which resulted to two deaths and injuries of three other occupants. No one among the vehicle occupants was wearing their seatbelts when the accident happened.

The northbound Mercedes was reportedly speeding along the northbound lanes of Sierra Highway when its driver, a 35-year-old man from Palmdale, lost control and veered to the opposite lanes where it was hit by a southbound pick-up.

The impact of the collision killed the Mercedes driver and his 26-year-old female passenger. A 4-year-old girl who was said to be at the backseat was thrown off the vehicle. She sustained minor injuries and was taken to a hospital.

Both occupants of the pickup, on the other hand, were not as lucky as Lancaster man Miguel Lugo, 38, and a Palmdale woman identified as 26-year-old Erika Espitia were hospitalized with serious injuries.

Though it was raining in the area when the accident occurred, authorities have ruled out weather as a factor in the crash.

Though speeding and the driver’s negligence is believed to be the main cause of the accident, the fatalities and serious injuries could have been avoided if only those involved where wearing their seatbelts.

To prevent fatal vehicle accidents like this, drivers must make sure that his passengers are wearing their seatbelts before driving away.

A simple precaution like this can save lives and minimize the seriousness of injuries that can be incurred in accidents like this.

Friday, December 10, 2010

16-Year Old Crashes Big Rig in Mobile Home Park

Obviously, big rigs are dangerous – its size has the potential to cause greater damage and destruction in case of an accident. Now imagine a 16-year old driving it -- worst idea ever, right?

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) are now investigating a big rig crash in Lake View Terrace after it drove into a mobile home park. While fortunately, no one was injured, the accident was said to have been caused by a 16-year old boy at the wheel of the big rig.

The big rig truck was reportedly hauling whipped cream and a 20-year old was supposed to be driving. However, according to CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos, the 20-year old driver had gotten tired so he let his 16-year old brother drive. Two of his brothers, a 14 and 3 year old were also in the big rig with him when it crashed.

Some 300 miles from Livingston south to Ontario, the crash occurred in Foothill Boulevard at around 3:39 in the morning. Authorities believe that the 16-year old unlicensed driver fell asleep while driving. The brothers initially tried to say that the eldest was driving however they later admitted that the 16-year old was driving when the accident occurred.

A homeowner in the mobile park said that the big rig could have easily taken down his family’s bedrooms when it crashed.

Driving a car safely and responsibly is hard enough – more so for a big rig or large truck that could weigh more than 10,000 pounds. In fact, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, operating large trucks or buses need special skills and professionalism on the part of the driver. Standards and safety rules are actually even higher for commercial trucks -- federal regulations require carriers to test all commercial drivers for drugs before employment, after crashes, and on a random basis. Drivers with BACs at or above 0.04 percent are disqualified from driving.

The failure to operate the big rig safely is not just the liability of the driver. Under the law, even the trucking company can be made to pay damages for any injuries or property damage caused by their employee.

In this case, even if it wasn’t their employee who caused the crash but his 16-year old brother, the trucking company can still be held liable for the accident under the principle of vicarious liability. A truck accident attorney will be able to provide you more information on big rig crashes and damages.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Entertainment Company Agrees to Settle in EEOC Discrimination Case

Business owners should keep in mind that their reputation will be tainted by any complaints brought forward by their employees.

To prevent this, there must be company policies regarding discrimination and compensation to guide workers and employers of how these issues should be dealt with.

A recent settlement involves a premier entertainment company in Richmond who faced charges filed by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2009 for discriminating two of their employees.

The Paper Moon’s ownership was sued by EEOC after it allegedly discriminated against two of its black employees and subjected them to retaliation each time they complained about the unfair practice.

Desmond Lawrence and Rock Georges were working as doormen at the Florida-based strip club when they were asked by the management to work the back door so that they can’t be seen by customers of the club.

According to the lawsuit, each time someone complains about the policy, the management either cuts their working hours or wrongfully terminates them.

In the settlement, the paper Moon had agreed to pay Lawrence and Georges $95,000 to compensate for their back pays and compensate the damages that resulted from the incident.

Aside from the monetary compensation, the owner of the company, Frazier Boyd, also agreed to release a written policy regarding anti-discrimination in the strip club.

This written policy to be issued by Boyd must be implemented not only in his strip club in Stuart, Florida but to his other place of businesses and clubs as well to guarantee to EEOC that unfair and discriminatory practices won’t happen again.

This latest settlement proves that complainants don’t have to go through lengthy court proceedings just so they can be compensated for their losses and to make sure that the company won’t engage in the unfair practice again.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Suspected DUI Driver Suffers from Major Injuries after Causing Pileup

Multi-vehicle accidents or pileups often result in more injuries, considering that many people are often involved in similar accidents.

In fact, a recent multi-vehicle accident has injured three people and also closed at least four lanes along the southbound 57, south of Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim.

According to reports, the accident was triggered by a black vehicle that overturned and struck a guardrail along the right shoulder at around 11:53 p.m.

California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers stated that at least three to five vehicles were involved in the accident.

A 2003 Ford driver who was identified as Candice Brannigan, 27, from Riverside, was moving in the No.1 lane when she struck the concrete center divider after swerving to the left. Reports said she then swerved back to the right, causing her vehicle to hit a 2001 Chevrolet that was moving in the No.2 lane.

According to authorities, a Chevy passenger Jesus Rodriguez, 29, from La Puente, was rushed to Kaiser in Anaheim with minor injuries.

Meanwhile, Brannigan sustained major injuries in the accident. She was brought to UCI Medical Center in Orange and was then arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Her passenger Malachi Banales, 33, from Ontario, also suffered from major injuries and was brought to the same hospital.

Reports said lanes 1, 2, and 3 as well as the car-lanes were closed after the accident. The lanes were reopened after more than an hour.

Brannigan should have refrained from driving the vehicle as she knew herself that she was drunk. By insisting on driving despite being drunk, she only endangered not only the lives of other people, but also herself. If found guilty of DUI, she may now be required to compensate everyone who suffered from injuries or property damages as a result of her negligence.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Father Accidentally Runs Over, Kills Toddler

Motorists should be careful in maneuvering the vehicle even in their own driveway especially when children are around. They should always check the rear-view and side mirrors to see if anyone is obstructing the path.

A 32-year-old father should have been more cautious as it could have prevented the recent death of his 23-month-old son.

Reports show that Armando Medina was driving a vehicle in front of his residence with his 4-year-old son shortly before noon to accommodate another vehicle that was pulling out of his driveway. He then reportedly thought he hit a speed bump but continued going until he heard his neighbors screaming.

It is very likely that Medina didn’t notice that his youngest son, Alexis, was standing in front of the vehicle before he drove off. Alexis was rushed to a local hospital. Unfortunately, he was declared dead after sustaining severe head injuries.

Sadly, this tragic accident proves that no child is safe when left unsupervised. A lot of accidents similar to this have happened before and will continue taking young lives unless parents will be more careful at keeping their children in sight.

Everyone is a victim in this tragedy. Mr. Medina may blame himself for it but these accidents really do happen. The least he could do now is to be more careful so that his other children will be safer.

Aside from car accidents, children are also likely to be involved in fall accidents, drowning, and electrocution. Keep them safe by keeping them supervised at all times.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

EEOC Files Disability Discrimination Case against Mental Health Center

Disabled people have the right to work and earn money, just like normal people. They should be provided with equal employment opportunities if their condition does not prohibit them from doing their job duties.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, covered employers, local and state governments, labor unions, and employment agencies cannot discriminate against qualified disabled applicants or employees. This means employers cannot make employment decisions which are based on a person’s medical condition.

ADA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to a disabled employee, as long as it will not create undue hardships on the company.

A mental health center is in a middle of controversy after it allegedly failed to provide reasonable accommodation to a worker who is asking to take a leave of absence in order to acquire medical treatment for breast cancer.

According to reports, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed a disability discrimination case against Northern Indiana-based Tri-City Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center in the US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division.

The lawsuit claimed that Felicia Nichols, a former employee at a Tri-City facility in Hammond, asked if she could take a leave of absence because she needed to acquire breast cancer treatment.

However, the company fired her after she failed to go to work.

The agency further alleged that the intentional actions of Tri-City violated the woman’s “protected rights.” It is now seeking both punitive and compensatory damages as well as back pay from Tri-City. In addition, it is also seeking other relief like permanent injunction so that the company will not be able to discriminate against qualified disabled individuals in the future.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fresno Police Officer Hospitalized after Crashing into Tree

Part of police officers’ duty is to respond to emergency calls. When they received reports about a car accident or any unlawful incident, they are supposed to go to the scene as soon as possible in order to help injured individuals or assist other police officers who were trying to detain a suspect.

When responding to calls, many police officers tend to speed up while on the roads in order to provide immediate assistance to those who need it and sometimes ended up getting involved in accidents themselves.

This may be the reason why a female Fresno police officer lost control of her vehicle and crashed into a tree along Peach Avenue, near Fresno Yosemite International Airport and McKinley Avenue.

The woman was on her way to help another officer, who was reportedly fighting with a suspect. However, instead of rendering help, she was the one who was placed in a dangerous situation because of the accident.

According to reports, the woman was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center. She was not seriously injured in the accident and is now in a good condition.

Authorities face many dangers just to serve the people. In order to avoid being involved in an accident while they are responding to an emergency call, it is advisable that they follow these tips:

• Use your sirens. This device will enable you to make your presence felt while on the roads. In addition, drivers who see approaching patrol cars will allot space for them. Under the law, you are required to use this device when there is an emergency situation.
• Do not move at a speed which can make you lose control of the vehicle. Although you need to provide immediate assistance to other people, you should also think about your own safety.
• Avoid passing along crowded areas in order to reduce your chances of colliding with another vehicle or hitting a pedestrian.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

California Gets Part of $3.3M Settlement with Bayer

Manufacturers, especially pharmaceutical companies, must never mislead consumers by making unfounded claims that can give false hopes to people who are in desperate need to find a cure or prevent an illness.

As with the recent news, Bayer had to learn their lesson the hard way. In a multi-state settlement, Bayer Healthcare had agreed to pay a total of $3.3 to the states of California, Oregon, and Illinois which investigated the company’s claim that their One-A-Day men’s vitamins reduces the risk of having prostate cancer.

In the complaint, the states argued that Bayer should have known that the ingredient mineral selenium in their multivitamins does not, in any way, reduces the risk of incurring prostate cancer as they claimed in their advertisements.

Despite the clinical trial funded by the National Institute of Health in 2008, the company continued to advertise their multivitamin’s potency in television and print until 2009. Bayer even engaged in a promotional relationship with Major League

Baseball wherein the multivitamins designed for men aged over 50 was advertised and endorsed by MLB’s graphics and players.

As included in the settlement, the company will stop advertising their
unsubstantiated claims on the effectiveness of their products without securing reasonable scientific claims.

California’s share of the settlement, which will reach more than $1 million, will go to the state’s consumer protection fund.

These companies should never jeopardize their reputation for making quality products by taking advantage of the consumer’s vulnerability to find ways to lessen the risk of having cancer.

To help you pursue claims involving injuries caused by defective products, consult with knowledgeable personal injury lawyers.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Former NFL Linebacker Junior Seau Injured after Driving Off Cliff

Vehicle accidents are common, though there are different programs which try to raise people’s awareness regarding the importance of following traffic rules.

An accident can happen if you encounter a negligent driver. You may also become a threat to yourself and to other road users if you are the one who is unfit to drive.

Former National Football League (NFL) star linebacker Junior Seau was recently involved in a solo Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) accident in Carlsbad.

According to reports, Seau’s Cadillac SUV drove off an embankment hours after he was released from jail due to suspicion of domestic violence. His vehicle was found about 30 feet beneath the roadside.

After the accident, the former player of the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and San Diego Charges was brought to Scripps La Jolla Hospital in San Diego to be treated for minor injuries.

This accident, like all other kinds or road crashes, may have occurred due to different reasons like:

• Vehicle defect- If the SUV malfunctioned while in use and the accident occurred because of it, the vehicle manufacturer or designer may be held liable for Seau’s injuries.
• Driver distraction- Trying to do different things at once like driving while eating or reading a book can make a driver lost control of his vehicle. If this is the case, Seau will have no one to blame but himself.
• Driver fatigue- It was mentioned that the accident occurred hours after the former linebacker was released from jail. He may be under too much stress because of what happened to him. As a result, he may have failed to operate the vehicle properly.

Hopefully, authorities will be able to finish their investigation quickly so that the person at fault in the accident will be punished for his or her actions.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oil Spills: An Ecological and Economic Disaster

Although oceans occupy nearly 71 percent of our planet's surface, size is hardly a deterrent for humans from overfishing and polluting our seas. According to oceanographer Sylvia Earle, the sea has become both a "supermarket and a sewer”. As human appetite for seafood continues to deplete and disrupt the aquatic food chain, so does the havoc wrecked on the ocean’s ecosystems through pollution such as plastic waste, fertilizer runoff, and oil spills.

As wide as the sea is, there is a limit to how much damage it could take. To date, as much as 60 per cent of the world's remaining coral reefs are at significant risk of being totally destroyed in the next three decades because of destructive fishing practices and pollution. Further, if the seas were get polluted to the point of no return, it isn’t just the marine species who will bear the loss – so will the human race.

Oil spills are one of the greatest pollutants of the ocean. These include oil spills from large vessels carrying crude oil, offshore platform and drilling rigs explosions as well as spills from wells.

If anything, we should learn about the recent BP Oil Spill which President Barack Obama has called "the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced." The BP oil spill not only killed 11 platform workers and injured 17 others, about 4.9 million barrels of crude oil were released onto the ocean causing massive damage not just to the marine ecosystem but to Gulf residents whose livelihood consisted of fishing and tourism industries.

Although the spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, oil washed up as the Florida barrier island. It was estimated that the spill cost the fishing industry $ 2.5 billion. The U.S. Travel Association further estimated that the economic impact of the oil spill on tourism across the Gulf Coast could exceed $23 billion over a three-year period.

BP was named as the defendant in most suits, along with Transocean, Cameron International Corporation, and Halliburton Energy Services. As on June 2010, over 220 lawsuits have been filed against BP – most of the plaintiffs who claimed for damages were out-of-work fishermen and tourist resorts.

While settlements are ongoing – of the 23,000 individual claims, 9,000 have been settled – it is unlikely that monetary compensation can actually compensate the economic and non-economic damages wrought by BP’s oil spill pollution. The settlement with the affected residents and employees is only just the beginning and cleaning up the effects of the spill is going to take years and for many of those who live along the gulf, life will never be the same again and their lives and livelihood will be impaired for a long time.

Right now, those with foresight are already protesting the $75 million cap in economic damages under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA). However, if it is proven in court that BP or any of its contractors acted with gross negligence or violated any federal safety law or regulation – then they cannot escape legal liability for the oil spill under the $ 75 million cap.

Ocean pollution such as oil spills are not just an ecological disaster – it is also a huge economic blow. If more spills like BP are left to happen, even with the payment of damages to people, nothing can restore the ruined nature and all the animals and marine life killed because of it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Man Suffers Partial Amputation in Colton Industrial Accident

If you end up with a disabling injury in an industrial accident, what are your options after?

Well you actually have two options; you can either sue or take worker’s compensation.

And that is exactly what the victim of the industrial accident in Colton will be thinking about in the next few weeks.

The incident occurred shortly after 8:00 am in Valley Pallet along the 1200 block of Lincoln Avenue.

According to reports, a man suffered partial amputation of his right hand after an accident while operating a pneumatic pop-up saw.

Paramedics were dispatched to the scene and they treated the man for shock, administered oxygen and intravenous liquids before bringing him to the hospital.
It is not clear yet if the doctors will be able to reattach or reconstruct the hand.
I would recommend that the victim consult with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney to help him weigh his options.

If he decides to sue, he will have to prove that the employer failed to provide a safe environment for him to work in.

Probably cite lack of safety equipment or safety training.

However, there is no evidence of that in the report.
Filing a lawsuit can be risky as the victim may end up with nothing if he loses.
Worker’s compensation, on the other hand, is a safe choice.

Under this state required insurance coverage, the victim will receive monetary and medical benefits regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

However, the victim will also have to give up his right to sue the employer and the benefits that he will get will also be only a percentage of his income.

So the victim will really have to weigh his options.
A personal injury attorney can help him with that.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pedestrian Hit by Semi in La Puente: Who had the right of way?

The common arguments in pedestrian accidents usually boil down to who has the right of way when the crash happened.

Take what happened in La Puente this week where a man broke his pelvis and had to undergo surgery after being struck by a semi-truck.

According to reports, the man entered the intersection as the truck was crossing South Covina Boulevard from Valley Boulevard.
The man was then struck by the right tire of the tire and he had to be airlifted to Los Angeles-USC Medical Center.

So who has the right of way?

Taking the information from the reports, I think that since there is an intersection, it is more than likely that there was also a crosswalk in the area as well.

Most intersections in California have crosswalks, whether it is marked or unmarked.
So assuming that the man used the crosswalk to cross then he has the right of way.

According to California traffic law, pedestrians always have the right of way in crosswalks and vehicles should always be prepared to stop when you see a pedestrian crossing.

So by virtue of that law alone, the victim can make a personal injury claim against the truck company to recover his losses.

However, he should still be wary of insurance adjusters as they will try to at least discredit his claim by arguing comparative negligence.

They can argue that the semi was already crossing the crosswalk when the man entered the intersection, which could still be a possibility as investigations are still ongoing.

What I recommend is that the victim should consult an auto accident attorney to help him in his accident insurance claim.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Miley Cyrus, a Hit-and-Run Driver?

Recently, Miley Cyrus has become the subject of some reports that alleges that she was a hit –and-run driver.

According to the reports, the former Disney star was driving a Mercedes SUV in Los Angeles last week when she struck a parked Camry, which was owned by a restaurant parking attendant.

Through his attorney Mario Fiore, the parking attendant alleged that Cyrus sped off and left him to deal with the damage to his car.

However, Fiore admitted that the Hannah Montana star left her phone number to his client before she left.

So is it a case of a hit-and-run car accident or not?

Well, the charges of hit-and-run will probably not stick just by the fact that Cyrus left her contact information to the parking attendant.

Although the state asks parties involved in a car collision to give more than just their phone number, the action of Cyrus after the car accident can no longer be considered a hit-and-run.

What the parking attendant should do is pursue his property damage claim instead of trying to show that the pop star is an irresponsible celebrity.

In fact, he has a strong claim against Cyrus and it looks like a straightforward case to me; unless he is parked illegally then that could affect his case.

But from the available information, there should not be any major debacle that will prevent his claim from being approved.

I think it’s time that he and his attorney focus on his civil case and let the police and the DAs office decide if Cyrus is going to be charged criminally or not.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Britney Spears Fires Back at Former Bodyguard who sued her for Sexual Harassment

Although pop princess Britney Spears has her share of legal troubles, more trouble lies ahead for the notoriously unstable musician as her former bodyguard had recently officially filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her.

According to the complaint filed by Fernando Flores, who was hired last February 2010 as a bodyguard in Spears’ home in Calabasas, California, the singer repeatedly made frequent unwanted sexual advances towards him.

In his lawsuit, he further alleged that Spears paraded around her home nude, engaged in "sex acts" in front of him and even physically abused her son Sean Preston with Flores' belt. He also said that he witnessed violent quarrels with Spears’ boyfriend.

Flores claimed that he was shocked and disgusted by the incident but when he reported it to his supervisor, his complaints were ignored and mocked. Employed by Advanced Security Concepts Corporation, he was even told, “You know you liked it.”

The former bodyguard is suing Spears for unspecified damages for intentionally inflicting emotional distress.

In answer to the lawsuit, the indignant camp of Spears claimed that the former bodyguard is merely trying to take advantage of the singer and make a name for himself. In a statement from the popstar’s website, it was alleged that the California Department of Children and Family Services has already investigated the accusations and closed the case without any action.

Spears’ ex-husband Kevin Federline through his attorney also leapt to her defense and said that the accusations were a product of economic motives and are baseless. The singer and her attorneys further stated that they are confident that the case will be dismissed by the court.

While the outcome of this case will be decided by the courts, it isn’t really that uncommon for male employees to be subjected to sexual harassment. In 2009, out of the nearly 12,696 sexual harassment complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, only about 12 percent of these were filed by men.

The law does not distinguish the gender of the victim, and neither does the victim have to be of the opposite sex. Under the law, so long as the employer’s sexual advances and conduct is unwelcome, continuous and affects a person’s employment, a sexual harassment lawsuit can be filed.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Where to Find the Best Drivers in the US: Car Driving Safety Guidelines

Having a driver is practically entrusting your own life to another person. When you hire a driver, you’re not just paying for the company of having someone to sit with you in slow-moving traffic; you are actually paying for the services of someone who can get you through daily traffic safely and responsibly.

And that’s what safe driving is really all about: safety and responsibility on the road.

Where can you find the best drivers in the US? - Mostly in Rocky Mountain, Appalachian cities.

According to “Sixth Annual ‘Allstate America's Best Drivers Report’ Reveals New Safest Driving City”, a press release by Allstate Insurance Company, the best drivers in the country can be found mostly in the following cities:

1. Fort Collins, Colorado
2. Chattanooga, Tennessee
3. Boise, Idaho
4. Colorado Springs, Colorado
5. Knoxville, Tennessee
6. Eugene, Oregon
7. Reno, Nevada
8. Huntsville, Alabama
9. Lincoln, Nebraska
10. Cedar Rapids, Iowa

These are the top cities with the best drivers based on car collision frequency and safety awareness.

There is no surefire way on how you can avoid car accidents but there are ways on how you can prevent them. Here is a basic driving safety guideline:

• Obey traffic laws and regulations.
• Stay focused when driving.
• Maintain distance with other motorist while on the road. Respect other motorists.
• Check your vehicle regularly including tire pressure and safety implements.
• Check weather conditions and traffic before traveling.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

San Diego Sued for Defective Road Sign

A particular “no crossing” road sign located at an intersection is one of the reasons why the city of San Diego is being sued by the family members of a tourist who died in March.

The 29-year-old visitor from Arizona identified as Virginia Ortega was said to be illegally crossing the intersection of Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway when she was hit by a San Diego Seals Tour bus. Ortega was brought to a hospital where she later died from her injuries.

Ortega’s mother, Carrie, claims that her daughter’s death could have been prevented if only the “no crossing” sign was placed where it can easily be seen by pedestrians and was big enough to catch their attention. The said road sign was small and pedestrians had an obscure view of it.

Aside from the road sign, the family claims that the design of the tour bus is also likely to contribute to the accident as the driver’s seats are highly elevated from the road and so they are not able to immediately see pedestrians crossing the street.

The owner of the tour bus claims that the driver is only about 10 feet from the ground and that there is someone sitting on the passenger seat to spot the passing pedestrians.

The family wants the city to evaluate the San Diego tour bus and to modify the particular “no crossing” sign located at the intersection where Virginia Ortega died.

It is important for the local government to monitor these accidents that could have been caused by a defective road sign or fixture. They will be held liable for any negligence on their part especially if there were tour bus accidents before and yet, nothing was done about the road sign that should warn against the crossing of pedestrians.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Driver Killed and Passenger Injured in Highway 580 Fatal Car Accident

A fatal car accident on the Interstate Highway 580 near Castro Valley killed a19-year-old driver and seriously injured a passenger last weekend.

The driver was identified as Timothy Daniels of Hayward while the identity of the passenger was still being withheld by authorities.

According to CHP, the single-car crash happened at around 6:00pm when the Mercury Sable they were riding crashed near 164th Avenue.

Daniels was pronounced dead on the scene while his passenger was brought to Eden medical Center by ambulance.

The CHP has not determined the cause of the car accident yet so the level of Daniel’s liability is not yet known.

The passenger, though, should file a personal injury claim against Daniels.
Although liability in criminal cases end after the defendant’s death, that is not the case in civil law.

Even after Daniels’ death, the personal injury case can still go on because it will not really be the passenger against Daniels, but the passenger against Daniels’ insurance company.

It is the car insurance provider who will be paying for the damages caused by Daniels so it will also be them who will defend against your claim.

Once the passenger proved that his injuries were caused by the Daniels’ negligence, then he will be able to collect compensation that is commensurate to what he lost due to his injuries.

However, the total compensation can also be reduced if the passenger has committed some negligence of his own that aggravated the damages caused by the accident.
One of the possible negligent acts that the passenger may have committed is not wearing seatbelt.

If that is the case, a percentage will be subtracted from the total compensation that is awarded.

That percentage subtracted is what you call comparative negligence and is being followed in the state of California.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

CA Supreme Court’s Google Discrimination Suit Decision Sets Precedent for Stray Comments as Evidence

The long running age-discrimination lawsuit against Internet giant Google gained grounds Thursday when the California Supreme Court sided with the plaintiff on some basic issues.
The lawsuit was filed by Google’s former director of operations and engineering who was 54 when he was terminated.

According to the lawsuit, Reid alleges that he was wrongfully terminated based on his age last 2002 because he was told that he was not a “good fit” with the company.
However his case was in part based on “stray comments “made by colleagues other than his superiors.

In his lawsuit he alleges that co-employees called him “old fuddy daddy” and “obsolete.”

In a previous ruling, the judge allowed Google to object on the inclusion of these stray comments, but The California Supreme Court reversed that ruling saying that these evidence could be relevant circumstantial evidence.

The case is now set to go on trial.

This could be a landmark decision by the CA Supreme court as it opens the gate for more discrimination lawsuits.

The federal “stray comment clause” has been used by employers to block statements by employees and other people who are not involved directly in the discrimination claim.

That is no longer the case as it looks like the courts has now allowed these stray comments to be admissible.

The court has now adopted jurisprudence that is very much more favorable to employees than the employers.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Executive Terminated after Reporting Sexual Harassment

The Placer County Fair Association is being sued by a former high-ranking officer after he was terminated when he reported the sexual harassment complaint of a female employee against a board member.

Brock Wimberley was the Chief Executive Officer of the association when he was fired two weeks after making a complaint about the hostile work environment that a female employee is subjected to by a male board member who was reportedly sexually harassing her.

In the lawsuit filed recently, Wimberley said that he filed the complaint to the then association president regarding the board member’s misconduct as he showed the employee inappropriate photos that are sexually suggestive and subjected her to hostility while she was working.

Wimberley claims that he then received an angry phone call from the board member days before he was terminated.

The suit did not specify how much Wimberley is claiming for compensatory or punitive damages.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Whistleblower Wins $1.175 Million Verdict

A former office assistant for the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners was recently awarded with $1.175 million by a Sacramento Superior Court jury for the damages she suffered from the retaliation.

Carole Arbuckle claims that the retaliation occurred after she discovered that a board member’s chiropractic license has temporarily lapsed in 2001. She then reported the incident and soon after, she allegedly found herself attacked and forced out of work.

She was demoted and was forced to go on a disability leave before she was transferred to another state job where she received lower salary. Arbuckle claims that she suffered $750,000 losses from the board’s actions which included her retirement losses.

Arbuckle now awaits the jury’s decision whether she will also receive punitive damages for the actions of her supervisors.

In this case, the whistleblower was retaliated for reporting the wrongdoings of the board. The retaliation then resulted to her financial losses and so it is compensated after a jury found that her allegations were true.

Monday, July 19, 2010

$1 Million Damages Awarded to Victim After Deputy Sheriff’s Crash

On March 24, 2008, Orange County Deputy Sheriff Michael C. Matranga was on-duty and driving a department-owned Ford Crown Victoria on Interstate 405 when he lost control of his car while fiddling or adjusting the radio.

He swerved and crashed against Shawn Robinson’s 1998 Volvo which caused it to hit another car carrying Barbara Stanfield.

Both Stanfield and Robinson and his 16-year old daughter were injured in the multi-vehicle crash. Shawn Robinson suffered severe injuries, his right leg was shattered, his left hip was cracked, the muscles in his right hand were ripped and his right ear was torn in half. He spent four months in the hospital but still hasn’t fully recovered from the accident.

Recently, the county has agreed to settle the lawsuit filed by Robinson and will pay him $1 million worth of damages. The county has also previously paid $ 75,000 to Stanfield.

John McDonald, the spokesman for the sheriff’s department, said that accidents are an unfortunate fact of life in the department as they have more than 140 cars on the road 24 hours a day. Meanwhile, its sheriff, Sandra Hutchens has initiated a review on how to discern, avoid and better handle such “critical incidents”.

Regardless of how many vehicles there are on the road, the fact is, most accidents happen because driver error, not because of the quantity or volume of traffic.

Most motor vehicle crashes occur 3 seconds after a distraction so even the mere act of fiddling with a radio or checking a text message can trigger a fatal or severe collision. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents as well as near-crashes. In a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these are the primary actions which cause distracted driving:

• Use of cell phone or other handheld and mobile device
• Reaching for or adjusting an object inside the vehicle
• Looking out the window of your vehicle and staring at objects and events
• Reading
• Eating
• Talking
• Applying make-up

To be able to discern, avoid and better handle such distracted driving accidents, here are some tips you can follow:

• Do not text or talk on your cell phone while operating your motor vehicle. All calls and messages should be made and sent before and after your drive.
• Adjust any of your vehicle’s controls whether radio, climate, seat, window, before you drive. When making further adjustments, do it during normal stops (ex. red light).
• Keep both eyes and your attention on the road. Make sure to keep both hands on the steering wheel to adequately control your vehicle.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Couple Unharmed after Car Catches Fire on Freeway 22

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of a car fire on the westbound 22 at South Glassell Street yesterday afternoon.

According to reports, Charles F. Laning and his wife were travelling on the freeway when they heard an unusual sound in their car’s engine.

They pulled of the freeway and ended up on the right shoulder of Glassell on-ramp.
The couple was able to get out before the car caught fire.

The authorities are now looking at possible auto defects as cause of the car accident.

Investigators should also look at the repair history of the car to see if there have been similar or related problems before.

There has also been some instance where improper repairs on the car’s engine and carburetor have resulted in cars catching fires.

In any case, the possible liable parties in this case could either be the manufacturer for inherent auto defects or the repair shop for improper repairs.

Once the liable party has been identified, Mr. Laning can file a property damage claim to recover compensation that could be used to repair or replace their car.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pickup Truck Crashes into University City Home, Injures 98-year-Old Woman

A 98-year-old woman was sent to a nearby hospital after a pickup truck crashed into her bedroom in University City Home in San Diego yesterday morning.

According to reports, a male driver lost control of his Ford F250 while traveling on the westbound lane of Governor Drive.

The pick-up truck reportedly crossed the median and almost hit incoming traffic before going over the sidewalk and slamming into the University City home at about 7:00 am.

The bed where the woman was resting was pushed several feet after the vehicle accident.

The woman was visibly shaken but it appears that she did not sustain any life threatening physical injuries.

The driver, on the other hand, was found by authorities bloodied from various cuts and just sitting on the curb.

They are looking at alcohol as a possible cause for the vehicle accident.

Obviously, the victim and her family should file a claim against the car accident insurance provider of the driver.

Aside from collecting compensation for present and future medical expenses, they can also collect compensation for non-economic damages such as emotional distress.

The family should also have the woman see a psychiatrist just to be sure that she is not suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, which is a common effect to life threatening experiences like car accidents.

If she is, her treatment and additional compensation for pain and suffering should also be covered.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Drunk Motorcyclist Injured in Crash Against Tree

Over the 4th of July weekend, a suspected drunk motorcyclist was injured in a crash in Kensington at around 11 o’clock in the morning.

According to the police, the accident occurred near the intersection of Aldine Drive and Van Dyke Avenue. The driver was reportedly driving eastbound up a hill on Aldine Drive when he made “an unsafe movement”.

The motorcyclist, who has been identified to be a man in his mid-40s, then crashed into a palm tree. He suffered a broken hip injury.

Police say that the crash was definitely alcohol-related.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol and speeding contribute to many fatal single-vehicle motorcycle crashes. In fact, as much as 43 percent of all motorcycle drivers killed in single-vehicle crashes in 2008 had blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher.
As stated by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), alcohol affects the rider’s ability to SEE. SEE is an acronym invented by the MSF which stands for:

• Search for hazards
• Evaluate the hazards which may create risk
• Execute an action to get to safety

Alcohol and motorcycles according to MSF, are inherently incompatible. A BAC as low as 0.01 to 0.04 percent can already impair the motorcyclist’s driving skills as it can already slow the rider’s reaction time and create mental relaxation that can cause the driver to be less critical of their actions.

While alcohol is a big factor in most single-vehicle crashes wherein only the motorcyclist is hurt or involved, these alcohol-related accidents still have the potential to hurt other people. Pedestrians and other motorists are just as vulnerable to injuries in accidents caused by a drunk motorcyclist.

If you or a loved one or family member had the misfortune of being involved in a motorcycle accident and you suspect that alcohol was a factor, do not hesitate to hire a personal injury attorney, especially if you sustained any injury or damage. Likewise, if you are getting blamed for the accident and the motorcyclist was drunk, your liability will be negated be his negligence.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Recent CHP Officers Deaths Raises Concerns on Traffic Violation Stops Procedures

The recent deaths of two CHP officers have put the spotlight on the law enforcement agency and their procedures when stopping a traffic law violator.

Just this weekend, Officers Brett Oswald and Officer Justin McGrory were killed in separate vehicle accidents; both happened during stops.

Officer Oswald was waiting for a tow truck to remove an abandoned car near Paso Robles when a woman, who apparently lost control, rear ended his patrol car.
The 21-year-old veteran was hurled in the air and landed on the woman’s car.

Justin McGrory on the other hand just stopped a speeding vehicle when a 2009 Pontiac, which was being driven by an 18-year-old kid, struck him and his patrol car.

The two fatal car accidents has brought to five, the total number of CHP officers killed in similar related accidents in less than 2 months.

Although the incidents were probably caused by the other drivers’ negligence, it may also be time to change the standard operating procedure (SOP) or review the guidelines to ensure the safety of an officer when he accosts erring motorists on the road.

Although these procedures have been in place for more than a decade, it does not mean it does not have room for improvement.

The concerns about where traffic officers can make a stop so that they are relatively safe from vehicles moving in high speeds can be the first one addressed in the discussion.

For the family of Officers Brett Oswald and Justin McGrory, they should consult with a wrongful death attorney to know how they can make a claim against the drivers who caused the accidents that claimed the lives of the two officers.

Although the compensation they can get is not going to replace their loved ones, it is something they deserve for what they lost and can also serve as a statement that the state recognizes that they have been wronged.

Friday, June 25, 2010

24 People Injured in Bus Accident Crash

In Atlantic City, a bus with 50 passengers from New York’s Chinatown crashed en route to Tropicana Casino and Resort when the driver allegedly lost control of the vehicle.

The crash happened at 11:30 a.m. on Route 40, less than two miles away from seaside casino resort. According to the police, the driver apparently was unable to stop the bus as it approached traffic stopped at a traffic light at the Great Thorofare.

The bus struck two other vehicles, swerved to avoid hitting others before it plowed straight into a retaining wall. The bus was badly damaged, its windshield was shattered and its front grill and bumper were gone. The passenger door was smashed and mangled.

Prior to hitting the wall, the driver was ejected from the bus and was run over by the runaway vehicle. 24 of the 50 passengers were injured and 1 was listed in critical condition. Passengers who were unhurt were taken to the resort.

Police and investigators are now examining the bus to see what may have caused the crash. Inspectors are also looking into the possibility that a mechanical defect may have contributed to the accident.

Sun Lee Bus Co. of New York City is the operator of the bus.

Buses are one of the most popular modes of public transportation in the United States. Some of the most frequent causes of bus accidents are the following:

• Fault or negligence of the bus driver
• Excessive speeding
• Negligence of other motorists
• Mechanical failure or defect
• Fall accidents while boarding or getting off a bus

As buses are considered “common carriers”, they are obliged under the law to be "fit, willing, and able" to provide safe public transportation services. Thus generally, a common carrier is often presumed negligent and deemed liable if an accident does happen.

So if you’re hurt in a bus accident, don’t hesitate to file a claim for damages because buses owe their passengers as well as the public extraordinary diligence in the operation of their vehicles.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

California Passes Law for DUI Ignition Locks for First Offenders

Recently, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger officially signed a bill into a new law which now requires first time DUI offenders to install dashboard Breathalyzer devices into their vehicles.

This pilot program, which will take effect in four California counties: Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare is set to take effect on July, 1, 2010. If the evaluation of the program yields a successful result in 2015, the Congress will expand the requirement statewide.

The law will require first time offenders who have been convicted of driving under the influence to have to test their breath for alcohol with the dashboard Breathalyzer devices before they can start their vehicles.

If alcohol is detected by the device, the car engine cannot be started. Although this law was vehemently opposed by criminal defense lawyers and restaurant lobbyists as they felt this should be reserved for repeat DUI offenders, the bill was signed into law last fall and is set to begin next month.

DUI-related accidents is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle fatalities. In fact, 1 person is killed by a drunk driver every 45 minutes. Statistics further show that in 2008, 11,773 people died in alcohol related crashes.

Some drunk drivers however, manage to get arrested before they cause bodily injury or death to others. Often, they get fined, jailed, or have their licenses suspended or get put under probation, depending on the circumstances of the arrest or even if they plead guilty to a lesser offense.

This however, fails to adequately deter drunk drivers, most of whom are repeat offenders. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 50-75 percent of DUI offenders whose licenses are suspended continue to drive thus increasing the risk of alcohol-related crashes that could serious injure or kill other people on the road.

To avoid or prevent repeat DUI offenders who still continue to drive even without a license from circumventing the law, it was proposed that an ignition interlock device be installed in vehicles to test drivers for alcohol before they can operate the vehicle. This would make it harder for drunk drivers to get behind the wheel and cause a crash.

Almost all US states have passed laws that allow the imposition of ignition-interlock devices as sentencing alternatives, while 14 states, including California, have similar laws for first-time offenders.

Majority of Americans favor installment of devices like IIDs to curb drunk driving accidents but a lot are also cautious that this still could get circumvented by the driver. If people still continue to drive drunk and cause accidents because they’re impaired drivers, they would have to face criminal and civil liability.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Los Angeles Mayor and Officials Rally Against Texting While Driving

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has added his voice to a growing number of groups and organizations that warn against the evils of texting while driving during the launching of the "No Texting While Driving" public safety campaign which is being led by AT&T.

Although the mayor admitted that he had a driver and that he never drives around anymore, it is a pet peeve of his when he sees people on the road who are texting while driving. Mayor Villaraigosa claimed that it is unacceptable and that children should be aware that nothing, not even a text message, can be more important than their safety.

In his message, the mayor stated facts which include:

• National Safety Council estimates that 28 percent of annual traffic accidents were caused by motorists talking or texting while driving.
• A Virginia Tech study reveals that drivers are 23 times more likely to have an accident while sending a text message.
• Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project reports that 26 percent of American teens of driving age say they text while driving while 48 percent of children ages 12-17 have been a passenger in a vehicle where the driver was texting while driving.

Further according to Fire Chief Millage Peaks, his paramedics respond to 36,000 traffic accidents annually; nearly 28 percent of which are probably related to either cellphone use or texting. In short, that amounts to 9,000 preventable Los Angeles accidents had people followed the law and not texted while driving.

Police Chief Charlie Beck, who also delivered a message, said that texting while driving is against the law and a fine will be imposed ranging from $40 to about $100.

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents and as seen from above, texting while driving is clearly a huge traffic safety problem.

All drivers are bound under the law to observe due care and diligence when operating a motor vehicle. Sending or reading messages while driving may seem like a harmless activity but this is a breach of the driver’s duty of due care and diligence. This would result to fault or negligence, which, in the case of a car accident, can hold the texting driver liable for any loss, injury or death.

During the campaign, teens were asked to read the last text message they sent or read and AT&T asked them, "Is that worth dying over? Is it worth hurting yourself, your passengers? Is it worth hurting or killing another person?"
So the next time you hear a familiar tone for an incoming message, before you reach for your cell phone while driving, ask yourself the same questions. Because otherwise, if you can’t wait to text while driving, you better be prepared to face the consequences of your actions.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Six Injured in School Bus Accident near Disneyland

Six persons, all probably children, were transported to a nearby hospital after a school bus accident near Disneyland.

The accident occurred in the intersection of Fall Road and Disneyland Drive right before 1:00pm.

The school bus was transporting 4th and 5th Grade students to a play in a nearby performing arts center when the accident happened.

Fortunately, none of the injuries were major or life threatening.

There are no clear reports yet on the cause of the school bus accident, but at the very least, the parents of the injured children can file a personal injury claim against the bus operator, which is probably the school itself.

The parents do not even have to prove negligence on the part of the school bus driver.

That is because a school bus is considered a common carrier and they are required to exercise a higher level of care in ensuring the safety of their passengers.

Instead of proving negligence, the parents have to prove that the driver of the bus was not able to meet the level of care required from a common carrier.

This is to hold people and companies who are in the business of transporting people more accountable for their actions.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Woman Killed in Rollover and Multi-Vehicle Crash

On state Route 125 in San Diego, a 25-year-old woman was killed and two other motorists were injured in a multi-vehicle crash.

The accident happened at about 8:40 AM. It occurred when the deceased female driver suddenly lost control of her Ford Explorer causing her to cross the center divide and meet the oncoming freeway traffic head-on.

According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the woman’s SUV flipped and landed right on top of silver Chrysler PT Cruiser, rolled over and collided with a Border Patrol Jeep Wrangler.

The driver of the PT Cruiser, a 48-year old woman had to be airlifted from the scene due to her injuries. An on-duty agent was driving the marked jeep and was taken to Mercy Hospital for further treatment.

The driver of the Ford Explorer SUV however, died at the scene. According to the CHP, preliminary investigation shows that there was no evidence that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the fatal crash.

Driver Error or behavior is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents. While generally, people often pin the blame on the road conditions, a car defect or even on the other driver for having caused the crash, the truth is, most car accidents are caused by the driver’s own negligence.

Even if the driver is driving sober and free from the influence of either drugs or alcohol, if he is distracted (texting while driving, putting on make-up, etc.) or drowsy or even just because he is speeding, he may be considered negligent.

When the driver also fails to follow traffic rules and signals, fails to yield, and operates his vehicle recklessly or aggressively, he would likely be held responsible for having caused an accident or collision.

Accidents don’t just happen as an “act of God” – most are often caused by the fault or negligence of people.

If you were injured in a car accident or if you lost someone to a crash, you have the right to recover damages for any expenses or loss you suffered because of it. But don’t expect to get compensation so easily, a lot of defendants (even if they are negligent) would refuse to acknowledge their fault so it would be advisable for you to hire a car accident attorney if you wish to pursue your claim.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Woman Files a Claim for Trip-and-Fall Accident

City officials must make sure that public properties are in properly maintained and will not cause harm to anyone. They must immediately fix roads and sidewalks that have become hazardous to people walking by.

A 66-year-old Anaheim woman recently filed a $50,000 claim against Huntington Beach for the injuries she sustained in a trip-and-fall accident last December near the intersection of Knoxville Avenue and Florida Street.

Reports indicate that Peggy Carroll was walking to her daughter’s parked car when she tripped on an uneven sidewalk and hit her head onto the ground causing the side of her face to be bruised.

Since then, the woman claimed she was burdened by medical expenses including an on-going treatment for her neck and back injuries.

The uneven sidewalk caused by raised roots of nearby trees was fixed by the city shortly after the accident.

These accidents could have been avoided if only city officials were thorough in making sure that sidewalks are still in good condition and repair those that are damaged by different factors.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Alabama KFC Owner Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit for $1 Million

An Alabama KFC owner has just agreed to pay $1 million to settle the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against the company by the EEOC.

The EEOC filed the sexual harassment suit against Jack Marshall Foods Inc. last March 2009 in behalf of 19 former female employees.

According to the lawsuit, the family run business tolerated a workplace that allowed male employees to describe their sexual intentions to the female employees and perform unwanted touches and groping that were sexual in nature.

Three of the female workers involved were teenagers at the time.

In a press release, Jack Marshall Foods Inc said that the male cook in question was fired even before the lawsuit was filed.

They also said that they agreed to pay the settlement to avoid costly litigation and to protect the jobs of their other 400 employees.

The drawback to settlements of course is that the case never gets its day in court and the sexual harassment claim was neither proven nor discredited.

There will be no judgment on whether the company did what it can to prevent the sexual harassment or were they really negligent and tolerated that type of workplace?

However, it is also a win-win situation between the two sides.

The female workers get compensation while the company ends the case without having to go through a hearing where they may lose.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wal-Mart Stops Selling Miley Cyrus Necklaces Due to Toxicity Concerns

Retailers can be held liable in a product liability lawsuit if the product they are selling caused injury to other people. This may be the primary reason why Wal-Mart has decided to pull out a line of necklaces, which were made after 17-year-old singer and actress Miley Cyrus, after several tests revealed that they have high levels of metal cadmium.

According to reports, the retailer issued the statement hours after the initial findings were released. It announced that the jewelry will be removed while investigation is being conducted.

Wal-Mart also said that though children are not the intended buyers of the necklace, there is still a chance that some of them might try to look for it in stores.

Cadmium, which is a toxic substance, will not be dangerous if the jewelry containing it is simply worn. However, problems may arise if children suck or bite the necklace, like many of them would have done.

Long-term exposure to this substance can result in kidney failure and bone softening. In addition, research findings revealed that it can stop a child’s brain development, just like the effect of lead.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Colonial Healthcare to Pay $28 Million for Elderly Abuse

A nursing home corporation based in Rocklin was recently held liable for $28 million worth of punitive damages for the death of one of its residents in Auburn because of an infected bedsore.

Colonial Healthcare in Auburn and mother company, Horizon West of Rocklin who runs 33 nursing homes mostly in Northern California, were found guilty of elder abuse. Elizabeth Pao sued Colonial for their lapses which contributed to the death of her mother, 79-year old Frances Tanner.

Long-time civil servant Tanner was suffering from mild dementia but otherwise healthy and mobile when she was admitted to Colonial. But within 7 months, after breaking her hip in a fall accident, she died from an infected bed sore.

Witnesses, who included former Colonial employees, accused the nursing home of chronic understaffing, poor medical documentation and corporate greed.
The jury found the nursing home’s conduct to be “malicious, oppressive and fraudulent and awarded Pao $1.1 million in damages for Tanner’s pain and suffering as well as Pao’s loss of companionship.

However, a monumental award of $28 million in punitive damages was also set by the jury. Colonial, who has a history of problems with state regulators, was cited for the fourth time for the death of an elderly patient in Tanner’s case.

Carole Herman from the Foundation of Aiding the Elderly said that the multi-million award should send a strong message to Colonial as well as other nursing homes that they have to do better.

In any personal injury or wrongful death claim, damages can be awarded to the victim or the deceased’s family once it is proven that the defendant’s negligence or actions caused the damage or injury.

The plaintiff can receive damages which are either be compensatory or punitive. Compensatory damages are monetary compensation intended to compensate the injured party for his actual loss or injury.

On the other hand, punitive damages or exemplary damages are given in addition to compensatory damages to “punish” the defendant and set an example to keep others from making the same mistake and ruining other people’s lives.

Friday, May 14, 2010

WWE Executive allegedly Sacked Over Sexual Harassment Claims

The World Wrestling Entertainment recently fired a general counsel after reports about an alleged sexual harassment came out.

Jared Bartie, who was the executive VP and general counsel handling the company’s legal and business affairs, is no longer on the WWE’s listing of its corporate officers in their corporate website.

According to reports, a female WWE employee from its sales department has accused Bartie of making unwanted sexual advances during the Wrestlemania 26 after party last March.

There were no details on whether he resigned or he was let go.

But it did not end there, in a twist of event worthy of a WWE Raw or Smackdown script, the female employee was also sacked after she was reportedly caught in a sex act with a subordinate male employee within the company premises.

Since Bartie is a lawyer himself, I would not be surprised if he turns the tables on WWE and file for wrongful termination.

If he could discredit the allegations of the female worker who filed the sexual harassment claim, especially now that she was caught in an inappropriate affair herself, then maybe he could also justify that he was not given due process when he was let go.

There are not many details to go about but I would not be surprised if counter lawsuits are filed by each camp in the next few days.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Everdry finally pays Damages from 2006 Sexual Harassment Verdict

Thirteen women finally got paid for the damages they deserve after winning their sexual harassment lawsuit against Everdry Marketing and Management Inc. and Everdry Management Services Inc., which is also known as Everdry Waterproofing and Everdry of Rochester.

In 2006, a federal jury ruled that the 13 women, who were teenagers when why worked with Everdry as telemarketers, were subjected to a hostile working environment between 1998 and 2001.

According to EEOC, the harassment included physical and verbal harassment, requests for sex, grabbing and kissing; all of which were unwanted.

The women also filed complaints a number of times but the harassment never stopped.

The jury awarded the women $325,000 for lost income, pain and suffering and an additional $260,000 for punitive damages.

The Rochester location was also closed because of the lawsuit but has since reopened under new ownership in 2004.

The payment was delayed because Everdry brought it on the appeals court but finally, the 13 women are getting their due.

Under article VII of the Civil Rights Act, it is illegal to discriminate against employees based on their sex and gender.

Sexual harassment is a severe form of gender discrimination and should not be tolerated.

These causes negative effects to the victims such as emotional trauma, anxiety and deep depression.

It also affects work performance so employers are affected too.

That is why employers should have strong anti-discrimination policies in their companies.

This case should serve as a lesson to all companies that they should respect the right of their employees.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Motorcyclist, Wearing Helmet, Dies in Crash

Motorists should always make a safe turn and always check out the other lane for incoming vehicles that might be hit when they make the turn or when shifting lanes. This will prevent accidents from happening and will probably save you from paying up compensation for the said accident.

A 24-year-old motorcyclist was recently killed after he was hit by a vehicle that made a sudden left turn in front of him into a hospital parking lot. Andre Fernandez was said to be wearing a full-face helmet but was declared dead on the scene as he slammed into the car.

The accident was reported at around 9:20 am when Fernandez was riding a Honda CBR 600RR on the eastbound lanes of Audubon Drive when his sport bike was hit by a vehicle heading west.

This unfortunate motorcycle accident could have been prevented with cautiousness and alertness of the vehicle’s driver. He should have made sure that no one was on his path before he made that turn.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Connecticut Woman Files Genetic Discrimination Complaint against MXenergy

A 39-year-old Connecticut woman has just filed a genetic discrimination complaint against MXenergy, a natural gas and electric supplier, after allegedly being eased out of her job and then ultimately let go because of her genetic history.

According to Pamela Fink, she had a double mastectomy last year as a preventive measure against breast cancer.

She underwent surgery because she and her 2 sisters had a genetic test that showed that they carry the hereditary BRCA2 gene that makes them predisposed to breast cancer.

Her two sisters did get breast cancer but survived after a series of treatments.

After some biopsies and some scary false alarms, she decided to go under the knife.

Because of her good relationship with the company that has given her good reviews and merits of increases and promotions, she told her bosses about the genetic test and the surgery.

However, Fink said the company hired a consultant to do her job while she was recovering.

When she came back, she was asked to work under the consultant then was quickly eased out of her office and her duties.

Six weeks after she came back from her second injury, her job was already eliminated (only one in her department) and was escorted off the office.
MXenergy denied the allegations but made no further comment.

The charges are based under the new federal law, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act or Gina, which just took effect last November 2009.

The law prohibits discrimination based on the employee’s genetic information.

It also prevents employers from making employment decisions based on gender discrimination because it does not tell the employer about the current working capabilities of the employee.

In addition, if employers are allowed to use these to either hire or fire an employee, it will discourage a lot of Americans from taking advantage of genetic tests, which could pinpoint the health hazards that they could be facing in the future.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Man Walks Dog, Killed by Train

Pedestrians should be cautious when walking near railroads where trains are likely to pass by and hit them. Deaths from these accidents continue to grow as a recent accident has again claimed the life of a man walking his dog.

A man who appears to be 30-year-old died after being clipped by a Coaster train that was going about 50mph at around 7:30 pm.

Reports indicate that the man was walking his Labrador and was heading east while crossing the railroad when he was struck by the Coaster train that was making its last northbound trip from Old Town station.

Authorities said that the conductor of the train only had seconds to react as the man appeared to be inattentive. No one in the train was reportedly injured and passengers were placed on busses to get to their destinations.

This truly is a sad way to die especially now that we know that something could have been done to avoid the collision.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Seagal Files Arbitration Claims

It is important for both the employer and worker to honor the provisions of an employment agreement, including the procedures on how to resolve employment disputes. Furthermore, each party should have these agreements reviewed by an employment lawyer to ensure that the contents of an employment agreement are fair and beneficial to both parties.

Days after her 23-year-old personal assistant filed sexual harassment lawsuit against him, Steven Segal is now reportedly filing an arbitration claim as Kayden Nguyen allegedly signed a confidentiality agreement when hired by the actor.

In February 2010, Nguyen reportedly answered an ad for an executive assistant to work for Segal and his production company, Steamroller Productions. Segal reportedly assaulted Nguyen and groped her several times. Nguyen is seeking for $1 million in damages.

The confidentiality agreement states that Nguyen should try to settle disputes with Seagal through arbitration which she apparently failed to follow as she filed sexual harassment and human trafficking charges against Segal.

It is reported that Seagal will be seeking attorney fees from Nguyen in his recent breach of contract claim.

Man Electrocuted at Work Dies

Construction workers need to be careful and protected when dealing with workplace hazards such as exposed electrical lines, as it can likely result in deaths. They must be equipped with proper training and safety equipments that would keep them away from harm.

Also, owners should make sure these power lines are secured and will not present immediate danger to anyone in the vicinity.

A 22-year-old man from Bakersfield recently died after being electrocuted along Imperial Street while on a hydraulic lift and photographing the construction of an office building. William Cantrell came into contact with an overhead power line and was electrocuted shortly after 4pm.

PG&E came and disconnected the power before Kern County firefighters were able to move the equipment and recover the body.

Power should be cut off immediately when someone gets electrocuted as this would stop the flow of electricity. It is important for everyone to know the dangers of these power lines carrying high voltage and keep distance from them.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chain Accident Kills 5 People in Santa Clarita

In Santa Clarita, California, at least five people lost their lives in a chain car crash on the I-5 Freeway in the Newhall Pass in a rain-related accident.

According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the accident which was reported at 12:14 a.m., involved four vehicles. Allegedly, a sedan carrying six people spun out of control and crashed against a pick-up truck, triggering a chain reaction.

The pick-up truck overturned and one of its occupants died. The sedan however, yielded a higher body count with one 6-year old, three young people and an adult. Two people in the sedan survived and were brought to the hospital. Fortunately, there were no other people injured from the other vehicles involved in the crash.

Driving under hazardous conditions can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence. Even if a driver is not impaired by drugs or alcohol, wet roads (due to rain or snow) are an easy trigger for an accident, especially if the driver may be driving too fast or would make a sudden sharp turn.

Also, rain or snow can also impair visibility. In case of a heavy downpour, drivers are advised to turn on their headlights and use extreme caution when driving.

In case of adverse weather conditions and you can’t avoid having to drive, observe the Basic Speed Law. The Basic Speed Law, which is embodied under Vehicle Code Section 38305 provides that, “No person shall drive an off-highway motor vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of other persons or property.”

This means that even if the speed limit is 55 but because the road is slippery because of the rain, the driver must drive at a lower speed. Ideally, 10 mph lower than the prescribed speed limit would suffice.

However, in case that an accident has already occurred, the weather may not be the only one to blame for any injury or damages suffered. If the driver was operating his vehicle negligently or recklessly, or was driving drunk, or violating traffic laws at the time of the accident, he can be held liable for damages.

A chain car crash however, would change the dynamics of liability as comparative negligence and contributory negligence may be recognized in multi vehicle accidents. In case you’re involved in a chain car crash, it would be best to consult with a car accident attorney. Even if you feel the accident is your fault, the blame may be reduced or divided among the other parties/drivers involved.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The “Unsafest” Cars List

Consumers, watch out! Despite the overwhelming headlines about Toyota’s dangerously defective vehicles, there are other cars out there that are just as unsafe, if not more so.

In an article from Forbes.com, a list of the worst made cars on the road was compiled and surprisingly, the beleaguered Japanese car giant did not even make it on the list. The results were gathered from the Consumer Reports studies and Vehicle Dependability Study from J.D. Power and Associates.

This is a round-up of the “unsafest” cars on the road today which shockingly, featured vehicles from General Motors. Also, the current leader in automotive sales, Ford, got really poor ratings for its Ford F-250, which was even rated among the worst in overall value and safety performance.

• Cadillac Escalade (SUV)
• Chevrolet Aveo (Compact Car)
• Chevrolet Colorado (Pick-up truck)
• Dodge Nitro (SUV)
• Ford F-250 (Pick-up truck)
• GMC Canyon (Pick-up truck)
• Jeep Wrangler (SUV)

Ironically, the most vehicles on the worst cars list are SUVs and pick-up trucks. According to analysts, while trucks and SUVs aren’t necessarily unsafe, the engineering updates and safety improvements for such vehicles lagged because car makers capitalized on making these vehicles “family-oriented”.

But for road safety, size isn’t the only thing that counts. Big and bulky SUVs and pick-up trucks are actually more prone to dangerous rollover accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 58 percent of SUV occupants while 47 percent of pickup occupants were killed in rollover crashes last 2008.

It is appalling that despite the public flogging and impending $16 million fine to be on Toyota for their dangerously defective cars, federal regulators seem to have missed acting on the above-mentioned worst-made vehicles.

Stricter standards should be implemented across the board in order to make sure that all manufacturers create quality and safe products -- GM and Ford should not be an exemption to the rule just because they’re American manufacturers. A mere slap on the wrist is alarming and detrimental to all consumers who may get involved in an accident because of dangerously designed or defective cars.

In case you are involved in an accident with any of these above-mentioned vehicles or other cars you believe is defective or dangerously designed, consult with a car accident attorney or a product liability lawyer to evaluate your chances of making a successful claim for compensation and damages.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hang Glider Accident Seriously Injures Man

Hang gliding is an air sport that should be taken seriously and should be done only by professionals as it can be very dangerous to a person who knows little about maneuvering the hang glider.

A 49-year-old man was said to be found unconscious in Contra Costa County after he plunged about 30 feet at the Mountain View Elementary ball field.

Though Christopher McKeon was wearing his helmet, it did not protect him from life-threatening wounds as he sustained serious head and facial injuries from the fall. He was rushed to a hospital where he immediately received treatment.

Reports indicate that McKeon launched with a group of hang gliders at Mount Diablo before he got separated and appeared to be distraught moments before plunging into the field last Sunday afternoon.

These accidents can be avoided with proper hang gliding training and adequate equipments that should protect enthusiasts in cases of having to suddenly land the hang glider abruptly.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wrong-Way Elderly Bicyclist Injured after Colliding with Actor

The number of bicyclists involved in collisions today continues to rise because their presence on the roads is often ignored by drivers. Due to this danger, they are the first ones who should strictly follow traffic rules.

An elderly driver who may have disregarded traffic rules sustained injuries after colliding with a vehicle that was being driven by “Desperate Housewives” star Shawn Pyfrom.

According to reports, the elderly was moving along the wrong way in San Fernando Valley when he made a sudden turn right into the 23-year-old actor’s vehicle.

The bicyclist went down after the collision and blood may be seen on his body, said reports.

Pyfrom reportedly got out of his vehicle and tried to help the injured elderly before paramedics reached the accident area.

The man was rushed to the hospital to receive treatment for his injuries.

Reports said his condition is currently unknown.

Authorities have made no citations after the collision.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

18-Year-Old Survives Train Accident with only Minor Injuries

A man luckily survived and ended up only with minor injuries after being hit by three train cars yesterday morning.

According to a Sheriff’s Department officer, the train accident occurred at the tracks on Valley Boulevard at Puente Avenue at about 8:45 am.

The 18-year-old man apparently did not hear the train horns and the yelling of the conductor because he was wearing a headphone.

The conductor pulled the emergency brakes and was able to slow down the train to about 20 mph.

He got hit three times on the side but luckily did not get pulled under.

According to responding paramedics, the man sustained minor injuries but was coherent and able to respond to questions.

He was taken to a hospital for treatment and more tests.

Witnesses told deputies that the crossing signals and flashing red lights were functioning properly during the accident.

He was lucky that he did not sustain any serious injuries because I highly doubt that the railroad company’s insurance company would approve his personal injury claim since the accident was caused by his own negligence.

Hopefully he has learned his lesson and remembers that he almost died because of his headphone.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

LA Pays $7 Million in Settlement to Triathlon Volunteer

The city of Los Angeles has agreed to pay $7 million in settlement to end a personal injury lawsuit filed by a volunteer in the city’s 2007 Triathlon event.

The lawsuit was filed by Steve Albala after being left a paraplegic by a motorcycle accident during the said event.

According to Albala’s lawyer Douglas Aberle, his client sustained his injuries after the motorcycle he was riding was struck by a vehicle while he was officiating the bicyclists’ part in the tournament.

Aberle claims that a traffic officer gestured for a vehicle to enter the intersection where Albala was and that resulted in the collision.

Albala was thrown about 20 feet and needed numerous surgeries to survive.

He was also hospitalized for two years.

Personal injury settlements are advantageous to both parties because each side gets something that they want.

In this case, Albala gets the money he needs for his continuous medical expenses while the city gets to end a lawsuit without having to admit guilt in the court.

Many personal injury lawsuits actually end in settlements rather than a full blown court hearing because the lawyers of each party knows that going into a hearing requires more effort, time and money.

At least in personal injury settlements, each party ends the lawsuit in terms that are agreeable to each other.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

$24.3 million Awarded to Girl in Truck Accident

A record-breaking award of damages $24.3 million was recently given by a jury to a 14-year old girl whose pelvis was crushed in a trucking accident.

The accident, which happened 6 years ago, occurred when Diana Luleidy Loza-Jimenez’ father unwittingly ran over his daughter with the truck from Freeway Transport, Inc. Allegedly, she was with her father and other family members on a long-distance trucking haul.

Judge David W. Abbot has previously found Freeway Transport liable for the girl’s injuries because the truck is considered as a common carrier under its federal trucking regulations status.

Loza-Jimenez was awarded $2.2 million for her past medical expenses, $2.1 million in future economic damages, $8 million for her pain and suffering and $12 million for future non-economic losses.

The personal injury lawsuit filed by the Loza-Jimenez has shattered Sacramento County’s history for highest awarded damages, surpassing even the $16 million dollar wrongful death case of a woman who died in a radio station water drinking contest.

Personal injury victims, whether the injury arises from motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall, premises liability, or product liability, have the right to be compensated for the monetary losses and physical pain and agony they suffer as a result of the incident.

Negligence is a very important factor to prove in all personal injury case because without which, the other party cannot be held liable for the injury. However, in case of common carrier accidents, negligence does not have to be proved – it is automatically presumed on the part of the common carrier.

Fault on the part of the common carrier’s driver or employee will not negate the liability of the owner or operator of the common carrier. In fact, the owner/operator of the common carrier is bound to exercise extraordinary diligence in the selection and training of his employees to prevent accident or injury.
Only four instances serve to exempt a common carrier from absolute liability in accidents and these are: an act of nature, an act of the public enemies, fault or fraud by the shipper or an inherent defect in the goods.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rep. Eric Massa Drops Reelection Bid Due to Health Reasons amidst Sexual Harassment Allegations

Representative Eric Massa has just announced that he will not be seeking reelection after only one term in Congress.

Massa said that this due to the third reoccurrence of cancer and that his doctors advised him to tone down his intense schedule.

However, a lot of people met this announcement with skepticism as Rep. Massa is currently the subject of sexual harassment allegations.

Politico.com has already reported that Massa allegedly made unwanted advances toward a junior male staffer.

Massa has vehemently denied the allegations and called the claims “a symptom of what’s wrong with the city.”

He did, however, admit that he has been guilty of using “salty language” but have apologized for it.

Because of the allegations, Massa will be investigated by the Ethics Committee for misconduct.

People should reserve judgment on Rep. Massa while investigations are ongoing and the proper complaints are filed.

As of now, there are no sufficient information that would support the claim and until there are more details, the allegations will remain as that… an allegation.

The mail staffer that was supposedly harassed should file a complaint with the EEOC or file a sexual harassment lawsuit against Massa in the court so that it can be settled in the proper place and with the proper procedures.

Fish Oil Supplements Can Cause Cancer, Manufacturers Sued

Being healthy is an ideal goal for most people and for people who wanted to be fit and fabulous, regular exercise, a healthy diet and vitamins like fish oil supplements are necessary to achieve that goal.

But health buffs who have included fish oil supplements in their diet however, would be aghast to find out that at least 10 types of fish and shark oil supplements contain polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), a toxic substance that may cause cancer.

An environmental organization, Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation sued manufacturers such as Solgar, Now Health Group, GNC, Omega Protein Inc., Twinlab and Rite Aid. The following are the products tested for PCBs:

• Nature Made cod liver oil and odorless fish oil
• Twinlab Norwegian cod liver oil and emulsified Norwegian cod liver oil
• Now Foods shark liver oil, double strength cod liver oil and salmon oil
• Solgar 100 percent pure Norwegian shark liver oil complex and Norwegian cod liver oil
• GNC liquid Norwegian cod liver oil

The lawsuit is anchored on California's Property 65 which requires that manufacturers should warn consumers about products contain toxic ingredients.

PCBs have been banned for more than 30 years ago after scientists found that exposure to the compound was linked with cancer, reproductive problems and damage to the nervous system.

Product liability does not only involve defective or dangerous cars, toys, and a smorgasbord of other goods, it also extends to medicine or pharmaceutical products. Under the law, all product manufacturers have a duty to produce safe products and protect consumers from any hazard associated with its use.

The doctrine of strict liability is applicable for defective products and dangerous drugs like fish oil supplements – this means that regardless of whether or not the manufacturer was negligent in the manufacture or design of the product, they are liable for any injury incurred by the consumer of their products.

If for example, a person who has been taking fish oil supplements for years discovers that he/she has cancer and this is attributed to taking the said medicine, the consumer can rightfully file a claim for damages under personal injury law. In case of death, his decedents may likewise file a case of wrongful death against the manufacturing company who is responsible for selling such dangerous products out in the market.

Friday, March 5, 2010

500,000 Nissan Vehicles Recalled for Faulty Brakes and Fuel Gauges

Not another defective car recall!

Unfortunately, the news speaks for itself as another Japanese automaker joins the car recall bandwagon as Nissan Motor Co. has announced that it will recall 539,864 vehicles to fix faulty brake pedals and fuel gauges.

The following are the Nissan vehicles recalled:

• 2005-2008 & 2008-2010 model year Titan pickup trucks
• Quest minivans
• Armada and Infiniti QX56 sport-utility vehicles
• 2005-2008 model year Titans
• Frontier pickups
• Pathfinder
• Xterra SUVs

Although there have been no reported accidents or injuries, Nissan is pushing through with the recall to fix the said models and even conduct a safety inspection. According to Nissan, owners of the recalled vehicles shall be notified when to bring their automobile in for repair.

The rash of car recalls is enough to make any consumer wary of buying a car. Toyota isn’t the only auto giant facing consumer backlash this year as even GM has recalled 1.3 million vehicles for power steering failure. Are cars safe these days?

Paranoid people may say that no car is safe from defects today and while it is true that most car companies have instituted recalls once, twice or even more than thrice in their careers, there is no reason for consumers and car owners to expect low quality vehicles.

Every car manufacturer has the duty to provide safe and quality cars but in the event that they are negligent and produce dangerous or defective cars, car owners adversely affected can hold them liable for product liability.

In case the dangerous and defective car causes injury or death to the driver/owner, a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit can likewise be filed.

Car owners or buyers need not suffer defective or low quality cars, they have every right to demand for safety and quality and be compensated for any damage they incur for their purchase.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Texting While Driving: Doubly Dangerous than DUI

People still continue to refute the dangers of driving while texting (DWT). Many claim that there is no substantial proof while others justify that texting is not as dangerous as driving drunk or fatigued because they’re only distracted/impaired for a few seconds.

Neal Rodriguez’ post at The Huffington Post debunks the defenses on DWT.

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes and for drivers who adamantly continue to text and drive against the law while pay for the consequences of the actions sooner or later.

In California, drivers convicted of driving while texting (DWT) or using a hand held phone can be fined $20 to $50. Take note however that the penalty may be increased to as much as twice the amount because of assessments.

Further, texting drivers who cause car accidents can be held liable for damages, whether it extends to injuries suffered by the other party or property damage.

DWT might not seem as dangerous as DUI but the numbers speak for themselves at how big a threat texting while operating a motor vehicle is.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rollover Crash Kills Driver Hit by Cab

A cab driver who was trying to shift lanes at 65mph recently rear-ended an SUV driven by a 65-year-old woman who lost control of the vehicle and died after the rollover crash in Golden Hill.

The woman, identified as Phyllis Lorraine Kirk of San Diego, sustained fatal injuries when her Chevy Blazer flipped over several times before resting on its roof along the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 when it was clipped from behind by the Ford Crown Victoria.

When shifting lanes, motorists should be wary of other driver’s speed in order to avoid collisions that they will be held accountable for.

The cab driver who was trying to go to the No.4 southbound lane from the No.2 lane was questioned but was not arrested as authorities continue to investigate the accident.

Every motorist should keep in mind that they must consider other motorists’ driving behavior so that they would not be involved in any accident.