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Even a simple slip-and-fall can result in serious injuries. This type of incident can happen in a number of different situations such as slipping on a wet floor or tripping over an item negligently left in a shopping aisle. When the incident occurs on someone else's property, an injured person may have a premises liability claim against the property managers.

Sometimes these types of accidents can be fatal. Just recently, the family of a college student filed a lawsuit against the state of California, the California Department of Transportation, and two Trusts that own land near Yosemite National Park. The lawsuit claims that the defendants failed to keep public property safe.

The fatal accident occurred over a year ago when a young man and some friends were on a road trip to Yosemite. On the way, they decided to stop and explore a bit, finding a culvert tunnel. But when the young man emerged from the tunnel, he slipped on a wet rock and fell 50 feet into rocky terrain to his death.

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Pacific Gas & Electric recently turned over further documents to the California Public Utilities Commission and claimed that the deadly San Bruno gas pipeline explosion had nothing to do with the accuracy of the utility giant's record keeping. This follows closely on the heels of an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which concluded that PG&E records did not properly identify welds in a natural gas pipeline that exploded in San Bruno in September 2010. The deadly blast and resulting fire killed eight people and destroyed nearly 40 homes.

The 110-page filing acknowledges the record discrepancy, which involved misidentification of the segment of pipe where the blast occurred as containing a seamless weld. The NTSB released documents and transcripts in March that revealed an apparently flawed seam weld discovered by PG&E inspectors a short distance from the San Bruno blast site.

Some commentators speculate that PG&E's ultimate liability for the explosion could have a major financial impact on the company. Two recent departures of prominent executives suggest the possibility of management failures that would underscore the company's responsibility for the wrongful deaths, business disruptions and widespread property damage that resulted from the explosion. In addition, proof of such problems could allow the company's insurers to void liability policies and require the company to compensate homeowners, surviving family members and other plaintiffs out of its own revenues.

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The search for fun at amusement parks often results in painful injuries -- especially in California, home to Disneyworld and many other attractions. In early July, three people were injured at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo when the metal gate on a tram carrying people from the parking lot sprang open. The accident caused a protruding leg injury to an adult and a stomach cut to a toddler, and both injuries required emergency treatment.

How prevalent are amusement park injuries in California and across the country? Getting a precise number is difficult because of a legal irregularity known as the "roller coaster loophole." By federal law, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is not permitted to regulate the safety of rides that are fixed at a certain site. The CPSC can regulate carnivals and other mobile attractions, as well as the manner ride equipment is manufactured. But the CPSC is not allowed to regulate the operation of the ride equipment at fixed-site parks.

Big parks like Disneyland therefore fall outside of the CPSC's jurisdiction, making good data about injuries there hard to come by. Nonetheless, according to CPSC estimates based on surveys of hospital emergency rooms, as many as 7,000 people are injured nationally every year in amusement parks, and an average of four people die every year.

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Drowning is one of the most easily preventable deaths for children. Since Memorial Day weekend, over 200 children have drown or been injured at swimming pools and spas around the country according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The California Department of Developmental Services notes that drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for children under five years of age.

As a result, the CPSC, working with Safe Kids USA and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, has launched the "Pool Safely" campaign to educate kids and parents on ways to stay safe around water. The goal of the program, according to Inez M. Tenenbaum, Chairman of the CPSC, is to "teach parents and children simple water safety steps so that everyone will pool safely this summer."

The campaign has two main components: A video series on youtube which explores unsafe behaviors around pools and an interactive online game aimed at children seven years of age and younger to educate them about proper pool safety.

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While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with the attorney, please call at 408-293-7777 or complete the intake form below.

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John J. Garvey, III
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