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San Jose Personal Injury Law Blog

Alcohol may have caused crash responsible for 4 deaths

An outing among friends turned tragic on July 18 as four of eight women in a limousine were killed when the vehicle collided with a pickup truck. California residents may have heard about this accident that took place in Long Island, and the Suffolk County District Attorney said the crash may have happened because the driver of the truck had consumed alcohol earlier in the day.

The accident occurred when the pickup slammed into the limo that was attempting to turn at an intersection by making a legal U-turn, and the speed of both vehicles is currently unknown. Both drivers suffered injuries, and the four women who survived the crash all reportedly received serious injuries. The district attorney commented that the women in their early 20s did the right thing by hiring a limo since they were touring a winery, and a chemical test revealed that the limo driver had no alcohol in his system.

Fall protection standards for iron workers

Iron workers in California perform some of the nation's most dangerous jobs. While doing construction work on multi-story buildings, these professionals are at a great risk of falling. To protect them from workplace injuries and deaths, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has fall protection standards that must be followed by employers.

OSHA standards for fall protection apply to all workers who perform tasks at least 15 feet above ground level. These workers must be protected with guardrails, safety nets, fall restraints, positioning devices and personal fall arrest systems. Despite these requirements, OSHA regularly cites construction employers for fall protection violations, and falls are among the leading causes of death and injury on construction sites. While employers are obligated to follow OSHA guidelines at a minimum, they are also advised to recognize hazards and develop their own policies for maintaining worker safety.

The importance of hazmat containment

Employees in California may benefit from learning more about the issues associated with emergency response, hazmat identification and control. One of the most critical tasks to complete in a catastrophic accident involving hazardous materials is to determine the chemical compounds involved in the incident. Addressing errors in the chain-of-custody process may be one of the most effective strategies for improving how these accidents are managed. Railcars, tankers, containers and trailers are all significantly affected by the integrity of the controls within the global supply chain.

Current technology can help enterprises deploy hazmat railcars, containers and trailers that are equipped with container security devices, or CSDs. Making these conveyances and containers smart with more recent tech applications can help provide more precise evidence about details concerning the contents or the shipping. The evidence is often accessible by using an app on a smartphone or another similar device.

Car accident in California leaves 1 dead and 4 injured

On the night of July 7, it was reported that a vehicle slammed into a California Donut King shop after being involved in a two-car accident. The reported stated that five people were ultimately taken to a nearby hospital. One of the victims taken to the hospital, a 30-year-old female, later died as a result of her injuries.

The accident occurred at the intersection of Western and Marine avenues in Gardena at around 7 p.m. The impact caused one of the vehicles to crash into the structure. The donut shop was reportedly open when the incident occurred, but no one in the store suffered any injuries as a result of the crash.

Teen drivers in California and car accident risk factors

California residents should keep in mind that teenage drivers often engage in risky behavior, making them potentially dangerous to themselves, their passengers and others who are sharing the road with them. The root cause of accidents involving young drivers is often related to the invincibility complex many teenagers possess. They often believe that they can do certain things without facing consequences. Even though drivers under 21 only make up around 10 percent of all licensed drivers, they cause a disproportionate amount of fatal accidents that often involve drinking, texting or both.

Approximately 17 percent of all fatal alcohol-related accidents in the United States are caused by drivers under the age of 21. Even though most states have implemented strict laws related to the blood alcohol concentration of younger drivers, the problem remains. Approximately 2,000 underage drinkers die each year while operating a vehicle. Of all teen auto accidents, alcohol is a factor in one-third of them.

Risks for seniors operating motor vehicles

While many seniors wish to stay independent as the get older, it is important for motorists in California and other states to be aware of the increased risks older drivers face. Across the country, there were nearly 36 million licensed drivers who were 65 and older in 2012, and of them, an average of 15 were killed in automobile accidents each day while an average of 586 were injured.

Older drivers face certain risks on the road because of declines in vision and cognitive function or even due to physical changes. The risk of a fatal crash also increases using the matrix of the amount of miles traveled and starts with those between the ages of 70 and 74. Seniors are not necessarily more likely to get into fatal accidents but are more susceptible to medical complications and injuries. Regardless of age, male drivers have higher death rates than females.

Temporary workers experience higher rates of severe injuries

Temporary labor continues to be prevalent throughout California and continues to rise nationwide. An assessment of workplace injury data performed by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that temporary employees suffer on-the-job accidents and injuries more often than those who are permanently employed.

Research published by ProPublica also supported this finding with figures that showed that temporary laborers faced injury rates twice as high as people in permanent positions. The research focused on severe injuries in which workers were crushed, broke bones or suffered punctures and lacerations.

Wrongful death lawsuit filed against Suge Knight

The filming of a commercial for the upcoming film "Straight Outta Compton" turned deadly on California streets in January 2015 when a dispute erupted among Suge Knight, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and other workers near the set. Knight, age 50, appeared uninvited at the commercial shoot, and the resulting fight ended with Terry Carter dead and three other people injured after Knight ran them down with his truck in the parking lot of a Los Angeles burger restaurant.

Carter's family has filed a wrongful death suit against Knight, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Universal Studios, and other named defendants. The lawsuit named the movie studio because it allowed the commercial to be shot in a dangerous neighborhood and also allegedly allowed gang members to be hired for security. Negligent hiring and premises liability are the basis for the claims against Universal .

The effect of speeding on fatal car accidents

California drivers may be interested in some of the effects of speeding on fatal car crashes. While the overall number of auto fatalities has gone down, the percentage due to speeding has remained relatively steady.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding is one of the biggest contributing factors to auto collisions. The NHTSA classifies a speeding-related crash as one where a driver involved was charged with an offense related to their speed, or where an officer indicated that racing or speeding was a factor in the accident. In the years between 2003 and 2012 the number of speeding-related fatalities dropped by around 3,000. However, these car accidents still make up a similar percentage of total vehicle fatalities. For example, speeding was a factor in around 31 percent of car crash deaths in 2003, compared to 30 percent in 2012.

Graduated driver's licenses could curb teen crash fatalities

While California is among 15 states that prohibits teenagers from driving with other teens as passengers, its laws governing young drivers are far from the strictest in the nation. According to a 2012 analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute, the state could potentially substantially reduce the rate of fatal crashes among 15- to 17-year-old drivers and the rate of collision claims for 16- and 17-year-old drivers by strengthening its laws to match the current best-practices system.

The IIHS reported that no state's laws perfectly mirror its prescribed best practices for a graduated licensing system, which include prohibiting teen passengers in young drivers' vehicles as well as bumping up the minimum age for obtaining permits and licenses, restricting night driving and establishing a minimum number of supervised practice hours that must be met before a young driver obtains his or her intermediate license. Even Connecticut, which the IIHS identified as having the most robust graduated driver licensing laws on the books, could stand to benefit significantly from establishing guidelines for practice hours, night driving and the minimum licensing age. The Institute predicted a 17 percent reduction in deadly crashes and a 13 percent drop in teen drivers' accident claims if that were to happen.

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John J. Garvey III

Attorney John J. Garvey, III

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