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Santa Clara County personal injury attorneyIf you are a parent, you probably already know how difficult it can be to leave your child in the care of others. Working parents across the nation trust daycare, before and after school program, and other child care workers to take care of their precious loved ones. They trust that the staff at the child care facility will keep a sanitary and hazard-free environment and that their child will return from the facility without injury. Unfortunately, this not always the case. If your child was injured by a negligent child care facility, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages.

Daycare Injuries and Illnesses Should Be Assessed by a Medical Professional

If your child was injured or contracted an illness at daycare, it is crucial that you have their injuries checked out by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. If the injury is due to a negligent facility or staff member, you may consider seeking compensation for the damages at a later date. Evidence in the form of an official medical record is almost always necessary to bring a successful personal injury claim and child care injuries and illnesses are no exception. Some injuries and illnesses can seem minor at first, but then develop into more serious conditions. Getting your loved one checked out by a professional not only secures your ability to seek compensation in the future, it may also prevent the child’s condition from worsening.

When Is a Daycare Injury or Illness Caused by Negligence?

Of course, not every injury or illness sustained at a childcare facility is the fault of the facility or staff. Sometimes accidents just happen. According to the law, childcare workers have a “duty of care” to children. This means that they must take reasonably competent steps to prevent children from being hurt. Many childcare facilities and programs have certain adult-to-child ratios which they claim to maintain. If a child was injured because there were too many children being supervised by one adult, or there was no supervision, the facility would likely be considered negligent.

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Santa Clara County premises liability attorneySometimes injury-causing accidents happen simply because of bad luck. However, if you were injured on another party’s property because that property was not safe or because the property owner/manager was negligent, you may have a valid premises liability case. Many premises liability claims stem from slip and fall accidents, broken staircases, falling objects, negligent security, and unsafe conditions caused by building code violations, however, these are not the only types of situations which can necessitate an injury claim. If you have been injured on property belonging to someone else and you want to pursue compensation, make sure to take the following steps.

File an Incident Report When Possible

Premises liability cases can result from an injury at a residence, government establishment, business, public place, or other property. The type of property on which you were injured will determine the steps you should take to maximize your chances of obtaining reimbursement. If you were hurt at a retail store or other business, speak with a manager and ask to fill out an incident report. Make sure to also get a copy of the report for your own records. If you were injured on a residential property, notify the property owner of your injury as soon as possible.

Get Medical Attention Right Away

It can be nearly impossible to bring a successful injury claim without medical documents which prove the extent of your injuries. Even if you believe that your injuries do not require emergency medical attention, go to the hospital or a doctor’s office immediately after an injury-causing accident. Many times, people do not realize how injured they actually are after an accident because of the pain-reducing effects of the “fight or flight” hormone adrenaline.

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California amusement park injury attorneyFor many, visiting a theme park or fair is one of the most exciting parts of summer. While the vast majority of rollercoasters, haunted houses, and other attractions are safe for the public to enjoy, sometimes lapses in safety precautions lead to horrific accidents. While we sometimes hear about catastrophic injuries and deaths due to ride malfunctions on the news, these are not the most common amusement park accidents. More often, unchecked environmental hazards or inadequate security are to blame for a guest’s injury or death. When a park or park staff’s negligence causes the death or injury to a visitor, the park may be held liable for damages through an injury lawsuit.

Parks That Skimp on Maintenance Can Cause Deadly Accidents

Many Californians vividly remember the terrible accident which occurred at Disneyland in September of 2003. The derailment of the rollercoaster “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad” lead to the death of one 22-year-old man and the injury of ten other park guests. Investigators eventually determined that inadequate maintenance was the cause of the fatal derailment.

More recently—just a few days ago, in fact—a log ride malfunctioned at Castle Park Amusement Park in Riverside, California. One of the ride’s boats overturned, leaving one guest in critical condition and two others with moderate injuries. Park officials claim that the accident was caused by a problem with the ride’s water pump, but investigations are still underway.

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San Jose premises liability lawyerInjuries—they can happen anywhere. Sometimes, they are simply accidents with no real traceable cause. But, defective staircases and sidewalks, falling objects, wet or sticky floors, a lack of security, or improper restraint of an animal are, most often, a case of premises liability.

What you do in the days, weeks, and even months after such an incident can determine whether you receive fair compensation for your any injuries you may have sustained. The following steps will guide you, regardless of whether the incident occurred at another person’s home, a government establishment, public place, or business.

#1 –  File a Report

If you are personally injured while on a homeowner’s property, you should notify the owner of the property that the incident occurred. Similarly, if you were injured while at a store, government establishment, or place of business, you should speak with the manager or a member of security and request an incident report. Fill it out, to the best of your abilities, and always request a copy before leaving the premises. This is an important, but often forgotten, piece of evidence by many people injured in premises liability cases.

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San Jose premises liability accidentIn a few short months, the winter holidays will be upon us again. At this point, only the best planners have started their holiday shopping, but soon they will be joined by millions across the country looking for great deals on the best gifts. With the increase in shoppers will come the inevitable increased risk of shopping accidents and injuries. Wet floors, exposed trip hazards, and falling merchandise can all lead to serious injuries to unsuspecting customers. While premises liability laws in California require property owners and occupants to ensure their property is safe for others to enter, there are a few things you should know about how such laws work.

Most Common Retail Customer Injuries

Black Friday stampedes and fights over the season’s hottest toys may make headlines, but other types are much more common in most stores and shopping centers. Slip and fall accidents due to wet or poorly maintained floors are statistically the most likely to occur. Shoppers can also trip over exposed edges of carpet, cords, displays, or other items. Falls may result in sprains, strains, back injuries, and broken bones, leading to long-term medical care and hefty bills.

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California wrongful death lawyerOn Friday, December 2nd, 2016, the city of Oakland experienced a significant tragedy. An old converted warehouse, known as the “Ghost Ship,” caught fire with more than 100 individuals reportedly inside. The incident is still under investigation. This location functioned as a workplace as well as a living facility for a number of struggling artists and musicians from the Bay Area. Several reports indicate that structure was dilapidated and not in compliance with municipal building and safety codes. While officials have not released the cause of the blaze, questions abound regarding the possible liability for wrongful death.

Deadliest Fire in Recent History

According to official reports, the fire claimed the lives of 36 individuals, at least one a legal minor. The location was run by a husband and wife team, who also lived there with their children. Early reports claim that the couple collected rent from tenants and had even gone so far as parking half a dozen RVs on the first floor for residents. The converted warehouse was also full of rugs, pianos, old sofas, and statues, which blocked exit routes and ignited quickly once the fire started. It also appears that a nightclub of sorts operated inside of the building.  

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Posted on in Personal Injury

San Jose premise liability attorneyThe ending of May is always a large milestone between the spring and summer seasons. Typically launched at the end of the traditional school year and Memorial Day celebrations, the summer vacation season is known for being a choice time for travel and family adventures. For thousands of tourists annually, an amusement park is the ideal vacation destination. Although the experience is intended to be a fun and perhaps even a thrilling venture, for too many, the end result is an amusement park injury.

Statistics

When making vacation decisions, it may be useful to consider some quantitative facts. In 2014, statistics showed that ultimately visitors were more likely to be injured in a roller coaster accident than becoming the victim of a shark attack. Some other recent vacation statistics include:

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Many California residents travel regularly for work or pleasure. The majority of these individuals stay in hotels or motels. At many large hotels, it's customary for an employee commonly referred to as a bell hop to assist overnight visitors and hotel guests with their baggage. While certainly considered a nice gesture, a recent premises liability lawsuit raises the question of whether or not a hotel is liable for not helping a hotel guest with their baggage.

A California woman recently filed a premises liability lawsuit against a large hotel chain related to a fall injury she sustained while struggling with her luggage. According to the lawsuit, the woman and her husband were staying at one of the business's hotels. Upon wheeling their luggage into the hotel lobby, the women asserts neither she nor her husband were offered any help by the hotel bell hops.

The couple was forced to struggle with their luggage and haul the large and heavy suitcases onto a moving escalator. Upon attempting to stabilize her large suitcase, the woman was thrown off balance and fell backward. As a result of her fall accident, the woman sustained numerous and painful injuries to various body parts.

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Tagged in: premises liability

California businesses have a legal responsibility to ensure their premises are free of objects or conditions that may prove hazardous to members of the public. Businesses that fail to exercise caution with regard to taking necessary actions to protect patrons, run the risk of people being injured and being the focus of a premises liability lawsuit.

Many California residents choose to get in shape and join a gym. In most cases, employees are trained on how to safety and effectively use workout equipment and ensure that gym patrons are safe. One woman, who sustained severe injuries while using a treadmill machine at her local gym, recently filed a lawsuit.

Upon visiting the fitness center, the woman attempted to use one of the treadmill machines. An employee was standing by, but failed to warn the woman that the machine was malfunctioning or broken. As the woman stepped onto the machine, the machine began moving at a fast pace. The safety mechanism that normally disables the machine in the case of an emergency was not working.

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Tagged in: premises liability

What kids think is funny tends to change over time. These days, some of what teens think is funny is truly dangerous. When a so-called prank involves more people than just those who are executing it, it shifts from comedic to carelessness.

A group of out-of-state teens has been engaging in planned acts that are careless on various levels. They are doing what the is now dubbed "gallon smashing," and putting unsuspecting shoppers in danger, as well as impacting business in the stores where they are pulling off the pranks.

The teens can be seen gallon smashing on the YouTube videos that they have reportedly posted of themselves committing the reckless act. Basically, they nonchalantly walk through an aisle of a supermarket while carrying two gallons of juice or milk. They intentionally throw the gallons of liquid so they break and spill on the floor. Then the teens fall down, making shoppers around them believe that they accidentally fell. They lie on the floor, liquid spilled all around and under them.

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Injuries from animal bites can be traumatic, especially facial injuries. The most common such occurrences in the U.S. involve dog bites. Government statistics reveal that about 2 percent of all people in the country are bitten by man's best friend each and every year, many of them in California. All told, there are millions of injuries, some quite serious, resulting from dog bites.

Over the past 16 years, federal statistics also show, the number of people having to be hospitalized as a result of dog bite injuries has skyrocketed, increasing by 88 percent. The seriousness of such injuries can be seen from the startling fact that around 15 people each year actually die as a result of dog bites and their subsequent complications. And not all of the victims are children, by any means. About two out of thee are minors, but the rest are adults of varying ages. Children under the age of 5, however, do make up around 70 percent of those suffering facial injuries from dog bites.

Treating such injuries is tricky and expensive, and frequently involves the need for very expensive cosmetic surgery and facial reconstruction in addition to the initial medical treatment. Precautions also must be taken against rabies and other diseases and infections.

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Millions of children in California and across the country celebrated Halloween this week with that rewarding tradition of going door to door for candy and other treats. But during Halloween and the upcoming winter holiday season, children may be especially susceptible to the risk of being injured during an encounter with a dog. In addition to trick-or-treating, children also visit the homes of friends, neighbors, relatives or classmates for a variety of holiday parties and other festivities. How can precautions be taken so that a child does not suffer a dog bite during these visits?

When it comes to trick-or-treating, children and their parents may want to avoid homes where they hear a dog barking or observe a dog running free off a leash in a yard. Even when they're visiting homes of people they know, children should be told never to approach or pet a strange dog, and to remain still if they visit a home where a dog appears or runs out when the door is open. A child wearing an unfamiliar costume may appear as a threat even to a dog who knows them.

It is clear that a dog, especially one unaccustomed to the child's presence, may become frightened or on edge when children run around or scream, especially when attired in Halloween costumes. A constant stream of visitors, whether it's for Halloween or a Christmas party, might also be unsettling to a dog's routine. Dogs may bark when they see visitors, so closing drapes may be helpful.

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Some advice for elevator mechanics everywhere courtesy of a Florida jury; take the passengers out of the elevator before trying to fix it. A 54 year-old woman who was bounced and jounced from the 23rd floor to the basement of a Jacksonville high rise office building was awarded millions of dollars in damages for her ordeal. The ride of terror left her with partial paralysis of her left leg, pseudoseizures, chronic depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, injuries that left her wheelchair-bound for years.

The $13 million judgment capped litigation that spanned more than a decade. In 1999 the woman was in the elevator on the 23rd floor of the building when the elevator malfunctioned. It dropped to the 8th floor and then stopped. An in-house mechanic employed by the Schindler Elevator Company was summoned to fix the balky lift. Rather than take the woman out of the car before working on it, he left her inside. The elevator then fell several more times - short falls arrested by safety devices - landing the car and its battered passenger in the building's basement.

After a two week trial the civil jury issued the award against Schindler Elevator Company and the owners of the high-rise office building. The jury decided that Schindler was not responsible for the initial plunge, but the mechanic's failure to get everyone out of the car before he attempted repairs was careless. Her attorney called that decision, "grossly negligent."

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Falls represent a substantial risk of injury to both nursing home residents and employees, in California and across the country. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that nursing home workers are forced to take time off work for injuries at rates 2.3 times higher than all other employees in private industry. An analysis of the reasons shows that slip-and-fall accidents are largely to blame for the discrepancy.

For that reason, OSHA is planning to conduct a campaign for the next three years focusing on inspecting nursing homes for safety violations, hoping to prevent some of these falls and the resulting injuries. Slip-and-fall accidents account for 15 percent of all deaths from accidents in this country, making it a cause of death second only to vehicle crashes.

Some of these falls are caused by slippery, wet and dirty surfaces on the floors of nursing homes, leaving much room for improvement in efforts to prevent such accidents. Nursing homes, as well as other facilities and businesses experiencing a high number of injuries from falls, may wish to consider the use of a commercial floor mat system. The use of such mats, especially in areas with heavy foot traffic, can prevent moisture and dirt from pooling and piling up on walking surfaces.

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As the controversy over whether pit bulls are inherently more vicious than other breeds of dogs continues, so do incidents of pit bull attacks on unsuspecting victims. Just this week a woman and her young son were bitten by a dog who slipped off his leash while out for a walk.

The attack happened in Vallejo, California, Tuesday night just before 9:30. The woman said she and her son were in a parking lot when a man walking his dog passed by. Police said the dog somehow managed to get out of his collar and when he did, he went after the 5-year-old boy. As his mother tried to protect him, she was bitten, too.

The man and his dog had left the scene by the time police arrived, but police said they later found the dog nearby. Two officers, one from animal control, tried to take the dog, which they said became aggressive and tried to attack both officers. After a Taser shock proved ineffective, the officer shot the dog. It's not clear whether the dog died, but even if it can no longer attack, its owner could be hit with a premises liability lawsuit if the mother decides to file one to recoup her and her son's medical costs.

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A California jury awarded the victim of a slip and fall injury $38.6 million to compensate the person for a brain injury caused by a low motel balcony railing. The railing was significantly lower than local building codes required and therefore did not protect anyone over 5 feet 7 inches tall from falling.

While this award is certainly larger than a typical slip and fall settlement would be, it also shows that these types of accidents can cause very severe injuries. This is one of the many reasons why property owners are held to the standard of reasonable safety for visitors and why they have a duty to warn people of known or likely hazards.

Brain injuries are some of the most difficult injuries to recover from, since the brain is slow to repair itself and does not regrow tissue the way that other organs can. Many accident victims who sustain head and brain injuries suffer from memory loss and loss of other cognitive functions that can make it difficult or impossible to continue to work. One of the major factors influencing large awards in brain injury cases is often the large amount of lost wages caused by the injury.

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Those of us who have dogs are loathe to admit that they're capable of causing any harm, but the reality is that some pets are inclined to bite or attack a person under certain circumstances. Particularly if your dog is trained to guard your home, it's important to realize that a dog bite can happen with very little warning, even if the person attacked doesn't pose a real threat.

A bicyclist peddling along a rural road outside Delhi, California, was the victim of an attack by several dogs last week. According to Merced County sheriff's officials, five or six dogs, most of which were pit bulls or pit bull mixes, chased the man and pulled him off his bike. They continued to bite his arms, legs and torso until neighbors who heard his screams came to help him. The attack was serious enough to put him in the hospital in serious condition.

The dogs were caught and put in quarantine at an animal control facility. Although they tested negative for rabies, their fate is uncertain. The owner of four of the canines said they act as his guard dogs and are usually kept in his yard. He said that while he was away on vacation someone apparently left the gate open, allowing them to escape.

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California is in the unenviable position of ranking at the top of a troubling list. The number of insurance claims for dog bites was higher in the state of California last year than anywhere else in the country. Most victims of these bites are young kids, elderly adults and postal workers carrying satchels of mail.

More than half of the victims of the estimated 4.7 million dog bites recorded each year are children. Kids ages 5 to 9 years old are most vulnerable; they are 900 times more likely than a letter carrier to get bitten. It is estimated that half of all kids will suffer a dog bite by age 12.

The next most likely to be attacked are the elderly. As for postal workers, around 5,600 individuals were bitten in the United States last year. Most of the attacks were in Los Angeles and San Diego, with 83 and 68 dog bite incidents, respectively. An average of 16 people die each year as the result of a dog attack. In March, a California letter carrier was among them.

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In so many accidents that involve injuries, there's more than one cause. And when it comes to determining fault in a civil personal injury lawsuit, all of the possible circumstances are considered. It's then up to a judge to determine whether the claims against each of the parties being sued are valid. If the judge disagrees that a party played a role in the accident, the plaintiff can appeal.

That's what a Los Gatos, California, woman did as she sought compensation for the injuries she suffered in a 2007 car accident. The mother was nearly killed by a drunk driver who struck her, momentarily pinning her against her SUV. In the process her hips and legs were crushed, requiring extensive recovery.

The woman sued the driver, who initially drove off but later pleaded guilty to felony drunk driving. The victim's claims against the man are still pending, but she also filed a lawsuit against the city of Los Gatos for negligence, claiming that poor maintenance and therefore dangerous conditions of the streets in the area where she was hit contributed to the man's swerving and eventual crash into her legs. The town's officials disagreed, of course, attributing the accident to the driver's "drunken stupor." A Santa Clara County judge sided with the Los Gatos officials and dismissed the lawsuit against the town.

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There's a fierce debate that continues nationwide over whether some dog breeds should be automatically labeled as "dangerous." Owners of these breeds, such as pit bulls and rottweilers, maintain that whether a dog is vicious depends solely on how it is raised and treated. Although there is some truth to this notion, some breeds -- indeed, some dogs in general -- may require more supervision than others to avoid dog bites, attacks and other harmful incidents. 

The issue is front and center in the case of a San Diego, California, woman who was viciously attacked by her next-door neighbor's two pit bulls in her back yard when she went to get the morning paper last June. Although the yard was surrounded by a fence that had been reinforced with a metal gate to cover a gap in the fence between the two yards, the two dogs made it through by ripping a hole near the gate. As a result of the attack the woman's arm had to be amputated below the elbow and her left leg was amputated below the knee. Her right leg was amputated later. She died of complications from the attack Christmas Eve.

The owners of the dogs, a 40-year-old woman and her 20-year-old daughter, were ordered this week to stand trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter, owning a mischievous animal causing death and six misdemeanor code violations, which included failing to protect the public from a dangerous dog and owning a dangerous dog.

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