September 3 , 2013 In: bicycle accident

San Bernardino Bicycle Accident Proves Fatal

Russell Alvin Burrows, 27, was fatally injured in a bicycle crash the night of August 31, 2013. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the fatal bicycle collision occurred in the 18700 block of Cajon Boulevard, an area near the city of San Bernardino. Burrows was riding a bike south in the 18700 block of Cajon Boulevard when he was struck by a 2007 Toyota Corolla that was traveling in the same direction. Burrows died at the scene. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the incident.

My deepest condolences go out to everyone who knew and loved Russell Alvin Burrows. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Read the rest of this entry »

March 1 , 2013 In: Dog Bites

Assessing Dog Bite Injuries

It is well known that dogs are man’s best friend. They can make you happy when you’re sad, and offer a sense of protection when you’re alone, but most people don’t realize these “best friends” can also be a legal liability.

The fact is, sometimes dogs bite. In fact, 4.7 million people are bitten by a dog each year, and 900,000 of those require medical care.

When assessing dog bites or attacks, Louisiana takes a strict liability approach. This means that the owner of the dog who bites someone else is automatically responsible for the injuries their dog causes. There are some exceptions to this rule. Some examples are 1) owners are not responsible if the dog bites a trespasser; 2) the dog bites someone who is provoking them; 3) the dog bites a veterinarian that is caring for the dog.

If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog and has suffered serious injuries, contact the attorneys at Dudley DeBosier to discuss your legal rights. This is a free consultation.

December 17 , 2012 In: drunk driving

NTSB Says Ignition Interlocks Should Be Required

December 17, 2012—Los Angeles, California—The Los Angeles Times reports that the National Transportation Safety Board has endorsed the use of ignition interlock systems for first-time DUI drivers.  The hope is that these devices would prevent a second drunk-driving incident and lower the rate of DUI accidents.

What Is An Ignition Interlock System?

The California Department of Motor Vehicles defines an ignition interlock device or IID as an object slightly larger than a cell phone that prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver is intoxicated.  The driver is required to blow into the system’s mouthpiece which is wired to the ignition system.  If the system detects alcohol, the car will not start.  Drivers are also required to blow into the mouthpiece periodically to ensure that the driver is not drinking while operating the vehicle.

What Is the Current California Law Regarding Ignition Interlock Systems?

The State of California has laws in place that allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to require IID use for convicted DUI users.  However, the current laws allow this only when the person is arrested while driving on a suspended license while under the influence.  This translates to a second, third or fourth DUI conviction, depending on the circumstances.  The IID is essentially a tool that allows judges or the DMV to make exceptions to allow convicted DUI drivers to travel to work or school on a “provisional” license, rather than a tool that is used to prevent subsequent DUIs after the first conviction.

The NTSB’s new policy recommendations would change that law or the implementation of the IID restriction.

What Do the NTSB’s Recommendations Mean?

According to the NTSB’s statement, at least 60 percent of wrong-way accidents involve drunk driving, and alcohol is overall the number-one killer on the roadways.  In 2011, 9,878 people died in drunk driving accidents.

One thing that has been blocking the blanket implementation of IID systems is the cost.  IIDs are expensive to install and maintain, and some states, such as California, have believed that imposing a first-offender requirement would place undue financial burdens on those who can least afford it.  In fact, the entire idea of IID requirements for provisional licenses stems from the idea that those who are working and need to continue working are better able to afford an IID.  Many groups, including the American Beverage Institute, feel that there should be a distinction between first-time offenders who are “one sip” over the limit and chronic drunk drivers who are severely intoxicated.

However, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers notes that California, which ranks 21st in the states among drunk driving fatalities, had 310,917 third-time offenders and 44,210 fifth-time offenders in 2010.  This means that there are a sizeable number of people who are simply ignoring the law regarding DUIs, and each of them originally had a first DUI.  Perhaps the second and subsequent convictions could have been prevented if these drivers had been required to install an IID.

Victims who have been injured in a drunk driving accident should contact a personal injury attorney immediately to protect their rights and recover damages for their injuries.

November 26, 2012—Northridge, California—A small plane scheduled to land at John Wayne airport on Sunday made an unexpected emergency landing on a soccer field at Cal State Northridge then flipped onto a residential neighborhood’s sidewalk, injuring the male pilot and female passenger, according to the Orange County Register.

The pilot and passenger departed from an airport in Novato in a Cessna 206 bound for Orange County.  The aircraft’s engine apparently lost power as they flew over the San Fernando Valley, and the pilot attempted to reach Van Nuys Airport.  Unable to make it, he forced a landing on the soccer field, where the plane crashed through a fence and overturned.  A small fire was quickly contained, and the passengers were able to exit the plane safely.  They were taken to a local hospital with what were classified as minor to moderate injuries.

My congratulations go out to the pilot and passenger on this plane for escaping what could have been serious injury, and my hopes go out that they will make a quick recovery.

Small Planes Have Higher Crash Rates Than Commercial

While many people are afraid to fly on commercial jets, small planes are much more likely to crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.  In fact, small planes have a crash ratio eight times greater than commercial jets, with 22.43 crashes per millions of flight hours for small planes as opposed to 4.03 crashes per millions of flight hours for commercial airliners.

What Caused This Crash?

While the investigation is still pending, in this particular case the pilot can testify as to what happened in the crash.  According to his testimony, the engine gave out over the valley, forcing him to land.  This could mean one of several things.  First, the engine could be mechanically faulty, in which case the engine’s manufacturer might be liable for the damage.  Second, the pilot could have failed to check the engine prior to takeoff, in which case the pilot might be liable for the passenger’s injuries.  Finally, a mechanic tasked with fixing or inspecting the plane might have made an error, in which case the mechanic or his company might be liable.

A personal injury attorney can examine the report of the plane crash and help the victims determine if they have a cause of action against the manufacturer of the plane, the mechanic who worked on it, or some other individual or company.

November 20 , 2012 In: Car Accidents

Several Children Injured in Woodland Hills Crash

November 19, 2012—Woodland Hills, California—A two-car crash on the Ventura Freeway Saturday injured a total of six children, two of whom were ejected from the car in which they were riding, according to the Los Angeles Times.  Ten people total were taken to area hospitals with injuries.

The two children were ejected from an SUV when it collided with another SUV near Valley Circle Boulevard.  There is no current word on the status of any of the victims.

My prayers and heartfelt wishes go out to these children and their families for a speedy and safe recovery.

Ejection One of Primary Causes of Serious Injury and Death

Being ejected from a car most often happens when the victim is not wearing safety restraints.  In order to be ejected from a car, in most cases victims must pass through a window or windshield and stand a good chance of being cut by glass or suffering skull fractures.  When ejected, victims tend to keep moving at a high rate of speed until they contact the ground or another object, enhancing the chances that a serious injury or death will result.

Ejection is a factor in 57 percent of fatal SUV accidents, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.  The victims in these accidents almost uniformly were not wearing safety restraints.  Overall, ejection accounts for about one in four vehicle deaths.

What Happened In This Accident?

Vehicles colliding produce massive forces that can recoil on the drivers and occupants.  If the occupants are unrestrained, that force can send them hurtling out of the car or inside the car to contact with immovable objects.  This transfers the force to the victim’s body, leading to blunt force trauma injuries.

In this case, it appears that the two vehicles collided and that the forces released injured a total of ten victims.  It is unclear from the accident report at this time which driver was at fault.

Liability Issues

It is possible that one driver or the other will bear complete responsibility for this accident.  However, it is also possible that both drivers could be at fault and could be held responsible for the injuries.

Under California law, judges and juries have the option of apply the principle of contributory negligence.  If it can be shown that both drivers were negligent, they may share equally in the liability for the accident.  On the other hand, if one driver was completely at fault, that driver will be responsible for the damages.  The victims can seek assistance from a professional injury attorney to help them recover damages.

 

Family members of victims of nursing home neglect say they want a new law that will require caregivers to call 911 as soon as a resident goes missing. According to a news report in The Contra Costa Times, one of the victims, a mentally impaired adult at a Concord nursing home, wandered the streets for hours and a second died just a short distance away from the facility's front door.

The victims' family members say that in each of these cases, the worry and harm could have been avoided had caregivers called 911 immediately and launched a quicker and broader search. Now, they are pushing for a new law that would require staff at care facilities to do just that, hoping that such a law will spare other families from similar tragedies and heartache. The article states that nearly 2,000 dependent adults were reported missing last year and elder advocates say a prompt response is key in such cases. Senator Joan Buchanan is researching a proposed bull that would require nursing homes to contact authorities including police soon after a resident is discovered missing.

Read the rest of this entry »

November 15 , 2012 In: Truck Accidents

Hesperia Crash Kills Victorville Man

November 14, 2012—Hesperia, California—A truck accident caused the death of a Victorville man who was a passenger in a Dodge Ram on Sunday night, according to the San Bernardino SunPeter Delgadillo, 27, was found dead at the scene of an accident in which the driver struck a telephone pole, ejecting the passenger from the truck.  There were no other vehicles involved in the crash, and there is no word on whether the driver was injured.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Delgadillo’s family during this difficult time.

Numbers Show Seat Belt Use Saves Lives

The use of seat belts can save lives and prevent serious injury.  According to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System compiled by the California Highway Patrol, young males are at the highest risk of death based on failure to use seat belts.  In 2010, 105 young men between 15 and 24 and 42 between 25 and 34 died in California as the result of their failure to use safety restraints.  In both cases, these numbers were about twice the numbers for females in the same age groups.

Seat belts hold people inside cars when an impact occurs.  Without them, forces take over that can push the victim out through a windshield or window very quickly.  Many people believe they can “brace” themselves for an impact, but this simply is not true.  The forces involved in a car accident are so great that no one can prevent them from acting on the bodies of people in the car, whether they are adults or children.  Safety belts, on the other hand, are designed to withstand these forces and prevent victims from flying out of the car or being bounced around inside the vehicle.

Will This Driver Be Charged?

Depending on what the investigation of the accident uncovers, it is possible that the driver will be charged with failure to control his vehicle or other criminal traffic charges.  However, these charges will not reimburse the family of the passenger for their loss; they simply discharge society’s obligation to punish those who break the law.

What About Liability?

Liability issues are different from criminal charges.  Regardless of the outcome of any criminal or traffic citations or charges, the family of the victim may be entitled to compensation from the driver through a wrongful death lawsuit. A personal injury attorney can discuss this possibility with the victim’s family. One specializing in truck accident lawsuits can help the family determine the best options.

An alleged drunk driving accident resulted in the death of a Jeanerette woman. The driver will be charged with vehicular homicide.

State Police said, the passenger, Donella Hill, 24, was not wearing her seat belt when the accident occurred. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says, research has shown that lap/shoulder seat belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50%.

The driver, Brittney Hill, 23, was allegedly drunk at the time of the crash. Her Toyota Camry was traveling west on La. 182 Saturday around 1a.m. when the accident occurred. While going around a curve, Hill’s vehicle left the roadway veering right into a ditch. The vehicle traveled for approximately 90 feet before impacting a culvert, then flipping.

It was suspected that Brittney Hill was intoxicated at the scene of the accident. Troopers submitted biological samples to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab.

MADD reports that in 2010 adults drank and drove about 112 million times. This statistic means that almost 300,000 times a day, drinking and driving occurs. Drinking and Driving is never acceptable.

Multiple sources report the cost of a DUI is equal to 850 cab rides. Dudley DeBosier urges drivers to take responsibly when drinking. Taking a cab is a great way to get home safely.

With offices throughout the state, Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers represent individuals in Iberia Parish and throughout Louisiana who have been injured in drunk driving accidents. If you or a loved one has suffered from a drunk driving injury as a result of someone’s negligence behind the wheel, the Injury Lawyers at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers are here to help.

October 29, 2012—San Clemente, California—The City Council for San Clemente is considering measures to repair many sidewalks that pose risk of injury to bicyclists and pedestrians, according to the Orange County Register.    The Council has changed the definition for “defective sidewalks” in order to bring more problem areas under the umbrella of those current defined as hazards.  The homeowners or businesses that border these sidewalks are responsible for repairs on these sections of the walkways.

Terms of the New Repair Initiative

The Council met on October 16th to discuss and approve a new policy that expands the areas considered defective.  The city has implemented a partnership program in which $115,000 of the annual budget is allowed to share the cost and help homeowners and business make these repairs.

These repair issues will affect primarily those who live in older sections of the city where there may be gaps in the sidewalks or very old sections that should be replaced.  The rule will go into effect after a vote on November 8, so by the beginning of December homeowners and businesses will be required to begin making repairs.

Liability Issues for Sidewalks

Slip-and-fall accidents are usually thought of in connection with wet, slippery floors, but many falls occur on broken sidewalks or driveways, as well.  If a person suffers a slip-and-fall accident on the sidewalk in front of a home or business, the owner may be liable for the damages, especially if the sidewalk is clearly defective or a danger to pedestrians or cyclists.

If a homeowner or business owner is liable for the injuries sustained in a slip-and-fall accident, the owner may have to pay for medical treatment, pain and suffering, and other costs associated with the mishap.

How Serious Are Slip-and-Fall Accidents?

The injuries suffered in slip-and-fall accidents range in severity from a few bumps and bruises to traumatic brain damage.  Much depends on how the person falls, his or her age and overall health condition, and what led to the fall in the first place.  Children tend to recover more quickly from fall accidents than older adults, but some children have suffered traumatic injuries that led to lifelong complications from fall accidents while some older people suffered almost no trauma at all.

Slip and fall attorneys can help the victim of a slip-and-fall accident to determine if he or she has good reason to file a claim and how much the victim can expect to receive.

October 29, 2012—San Diego, California—A driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol hit two pedestrians and two cars on Sunday, according to CBS News sources.
The unnamed driver lost control of his SUV on Glencoe Drive when leaving a party at about 1:45 a.m. and was driving on the wrong side of the road. He struck two parked cars and two pedestrians. One victim suffered head injuries while the other suffered a broken collar bone and ribs.

The driver was arrested for a felony charge of driving under the influence.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims in this case.

Drunk Driving Statistics in California

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 203,866 arrests for DUI in California in 2007, 6,264 of which were felonies. A felony DUI is usually charged when the driver causes bodily injury to another person or when a driver has several previous DUI convictions. California has a 75 percent conviction rate for DUI charges. The 25 percent who are not convicted may plead to other charges in exchange for dropping the DUI charge, or may be victims of false suspicion of DUI. For example, some arrests are made with suspicion of DUI when the driver is actually suffering from diabetic symptoms.

There were 1,489 alcohol-related fatalities in California in 2009 and 749 drug-related fatalities.

Legal Ramification of DUI

A person charged with a felony DUI faces serious penalties. Felony DUI convictions can lead to jail time and large fines. In addition, drivers convicted of felony DUI may be required to attend alcohol education classes or alcohol rehabilitation services. DUI drivers lose their license to drive for a period of time, as well, and felony convictions carry penalties that include longer loss-of-license time periods.

Liability Issues with DUI

DUI drivers are not only subject to criminal penalties but may also be civilly responsible for the injuries they cause. When a driver chooses to drink and drive, he or she is acting negligently and can be held responsible for the injuries caused by that negligence. A person convicted of felony DUI has little chance of convincing a judge or jury that he or she did not intend to hurt anyone, since it is well-understood that drinking and driving causes serious accidents.

A personal injury attorney can help victims who have been hit by DUI drivers recover money for their losses. Contact one of our San Diego car accident attorneys for a free consultation.

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