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.