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work-related car accidents, San Jose personal injury attorneyWhen are injured in a work-related accident, many people assume that a workers’ compensation claim is their only way to get compensated for their injuries. However, California law allows you to pursue a claim against someone other than your employer if the other party's negligence caused or contributed to your injuries.

Role of Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims

The workers’ compensation system was designed to help make sure workers were compensated for injuries sustained in the course of their employment and to protect employers from litigation. Under the workers’ compensation system you cannot usually sue your employer. The type of compensation you are able to collect is also limited.

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drunk driving accident, San Jose personal injury attorneyDrunk drivers continue to cause thousands of accidents every year, in spite of harsh consequences and aggressive law enforcement practices. Often a drunk driving accident results in catastrophic injuries that last a lifetime. Tragically, some victims will not even survive the accident. Because drunk driving is caused by an illegal act, victims of drunk driving accidents may be able to seek punitive damages from the drunk drivers.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are a special kind of damages that are not available in every personal injury case. Punitive damages are designed to punish actions that go beyond simple negligence. These damages are supposed to help deter people from making the same kinds of dangerous choices in the future. In order to be awarded punitive damages, you will need to show that the driver acted with a conscious disregard for the safety of others.

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San Jose auto accident attorneyWhen money is tight, it can be tempting to look for any way possible to lower your expenses. But, when it comes to your car insurance if you try and lower your premiums by eliminating some of your coverage, you may end up costing yourself money if you get into a car accident.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal Injury Protection, or PIP coverage, as it is often called, is not required in California. If you have PIP, when you, or one of your passengers, is hurt in a car accident, your medical bills will be paid by your car insurance. PIP coverage may also pay a portion of any missed wages. It does not matter who is at fault for the accident. The PIP benefits, however, are not open ended. PIP will only pay out for a set period of time and up to a set amount of money. But, if you do not have PIP coverage it can be harder to get the medical treatment you need for your injuries.

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fault, San Jose personal injury attorneyThe cause of injuries in a car accident is not always clear. Often people focus on who was at fault for the car accident, but the sometimes the real legal question is who is at fault for the injuries. It is possible for the insurance company to blame you for at least partially causing your own injuries.

Comparative Negligence

California law recognizes the principle of comparative negligence. This means that if your negligence was a partial cause of your injuries, your award for damages can be reduced by the percentage of your fault.

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defective part, San Jose auto accident attorneyEvery year thousands of people are severely injured, or even killed in car accidents. Sometimes, the cause of the injuries seems obvious. However, in some instances, a defect or malfunction in your car may have made your injuries worse than they otherwise would have been.

Discovering Automobile Defects

While some vehicles become notorious for their defects, other more routine defects pass through unknown to most people. While some SUVs are well known to have a higher risk of rollover rates or of roof crush injuries, for example, there are thousands of components in a car that may not be working properly that could make injuries in a car accident much worse.

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truck accident, liability, San Jose truck accident lawyerTruck accidents have the potential to cause catastrophic injury and harm. Of course, most trucks are operated safely, but due to their size and cargo, when a truck is in an accident, occupants of other vehicles are more likely to be permanently injured, or even killed. The true cause of a truck accident, however, is not always immediately apparent.

Causes of Truck Accidents

Common causes of truck accidents include:

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brain injury, San Jose personal injury attorneyNot so long ago, a concussion was considered just a bump to the head. With new advances in medical science, it has become clear that even with few, or even no, immediate symptoms, a blow to the head may cause a traumatic brain injury that can impact the rest of the victim’s life.

Proving Personal Injury Claims

When you are injured because of someone else’s negligence you have a legal right to be compensated for your damages. But, no matter if you are reaching a settlement with an insurance company or arguing a case before a jury, you have to be able to prove your damages. Proving your damages includes submitting documents such as medical bills and doctor’s reports. It often also requires more subjective proof such as statements about how your injuries have affected your life.

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mass transit, San Jose train accident lawyerMass transit is designed to help reduce congestion on our roadways and safely transport people to work and around the Bay Area. However, sometimes because of negligence a form of mass transportation like a bus, light rail or BART, is involved in an accident that leaves many people hurt.

Causes of Mass Transit Accidents

Just because there has been an accident, does not mean the company or agency operating the mass transit was negligent. Before you will be able to successfully get compensated for your injuries, you will need to prove that the negligence of someone connected with the mass transit agency caused your injury.

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personal injury claim, San Jose personal injury attorneyIf you have been in a car accident that was caused by another driver, you may have a personal injury claim. Under California law, there are some very specific steps you have to take to protect your rights and to pursue a claim for compensation for your damages. A personal injury claim is a process, not a single event.

Understanding Negligence

Before you can successfully bring a claim for personal injury, you will need to show that the other driver acted negligently and that that their negligence caused your injuries. All drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles with reasonable care. Negligence is when this duty to drive with reasonable care is breached.

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car accident deaths, San Jose wrongful death lawyerWhen you lose a loved one, there is nothing that can ever fully heal the broken hearts they leave behind. When a family member is killed in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence, the only thing the law can offer for the loss is monetary damages. Even though no amount of money will ever bring your loved one back, you and your family may need the money you recover from damages to cover bills and provide future economic security.

Wrongful Death Claims

When you bring a claim for damages after the death a family member it is called a wrongful death claim. In California, a wrongful death claim can be brought through the probate court or by a qualifying family member individually.

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fighting insurance company, San Jose car accident lawyerThe law requires all drivers to have insurance before getting behind the wheel. But, not all drivers follow the law. Some drivers do have insurance, but not enough to pay for all the damage they cause. In these situations, you may have to turn to your own insurance policies to get compensation.

Difference Between Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are both designed to help drivers receive the compensation they deserve for injuries when the at-fault drivers can’t properly compensate them. However, there are important differences in the way the two types of policies work.

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hands free devices, California personal injury lawyerDistracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in California. The state prohibits drivers from using handheld cellphones while driving. It has had the cellphone ban on the books since 2008. But a recent study shows that using a hands-free device like a Bluetooth headset may not make driving any safer.

Distracted Driving Studies

Researchers at the University of Colorado examined data from California before and after the ban on handheld cell phone use. It discovered that the ban had no significant impact on the number of traffic accidents. Other studies have repeatedly shown that drivers using hands free devices are just as distracted when driving as drivers holding cell phones in their hands while driving.

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drugged driving, DUI, San Jose car accident lawyerWhen you hear about car accidents caused because of a DUI, you probably think of drinking and driving. But, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drugs other than alcohol are involved in 18 percent of all motor vehicle deaths. Driving under the influence of drugs is just as illegal as drunk driving and just as dangerous.

Drugs and Driving

In California you can be found guilty of DUI if you are on drugs and those drugs interfere with your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. It does not matter if the drugs are illegal such as methamphetamine or a legal prescription drug such as Vicodin. If you have a valid medical marijuana card and prescription, it is still illegal to drive while under the effects of the drug.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_blog-race.jpgOn Nov. 14, three people were killed and two others were critically injured when a car plowed into spectators during a street race in the City of Commerce. The crash was reported at around 1 a.m.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the accident occurred at the intersection of South Malt Avenue and Telegraph Road, which is a hot spot for street racers. There were reportedly up to 100 vehicles gathered in the area when a car involved in the race struck a car that was doing donuts, causing the vehicles to careen into onlookers. Two Los Angeles men, ages 27 and 29, and a 15-year-old South Gate boy were killed in the collision. All three victims were said to be related. Two other people were transported to the hospital with critical injuries.

People who work nearby told the media that street racing is a constant problem in the area, which is an industrial park. Sheriff's deputies often run patrols in the area, but racers simply drive off and return when the coast is clear. Several people who visited the crash site memorial said that traffic lights or speed bumps should be installed to deter racers.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_blog-underage.jpgMany California residents may be familiar with the public service campaign that advised "friends don't let friends drive drunk," and recent surveys show around nine in 10 adults still recognize this phrase. The Ad Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have again partnered on a campaign to discourage underage drinking and driving. In October 2015, a representative from the NHTSA presented the new campaign at a summit focused on safer driving for teens.

Teens in the United States are more likely to die in vehicle crashes than from any other cause, and NHTSA data reveals that nearly 25 percent of young drivers involved in fatal crashes had been consuming alcohol. The ads discouraging young people from drinking and driving were created by an ad agency for free and filmed entirely on an iPhone.

Previous campaigns for which the Ad Council and the NHTSA partnered led to some change in driver behavior. For example, in 2005, the two worked on a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of driving while buzzed. More young men said they would opt to take a taxi, take public transportation or get a ride in the years after the campaign with the number increasing between 2005 and 2013 from 38 percent to 47 percent.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_blog-sleep.jpgSome California drivers may have experienced falling asleep while driving. In a 2015 survey conducted by the American Automobile Association, around 43 percent of drivers said that they had fallen asleep at the wheel at least once in their lives. Among drivers aged 19 to 24, 39.6 percent said that they had dropped off while behind the wheel in the past month, and in all age groups, almost one-third admitted to having done so.

A representative of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spoke during National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week at the Asleep at the Wheel forum in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 4. He said it is estimated that 5,000 to 7,000 fatalities happen annually due to drowsy driving.

He also stated that one in five major investigations conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board between 2001 and 2012 listed fatigue as a contributing cause. When limited to major highway investigations during that period, it was a contributing factor in nearly 40 percent of the accidents. Furthermore, in a 2010 study, AAA found that drowsy driving causes 16.5 percent of all fatal accidents.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_blog-container.jpgA bicyclist in California was killed on Oct. 27 when a cargo container fell on top of him. The accident took place at around 5:05 p.m. while the victim was riding his bicycle along Santa Fe Avenue in Long Beach. A large container fell off of the truck right as it was passing the bicyclist.

A witness to the fatal accident said that he had seen another container fall off of a different truck the day before. No injuries apparently occurred as a result of the first incident, but the witness expressed concern about trucking companies cutting corners on safety. He said that while truck drivers in Los Angeles and Long Beach have been on strike, trucking companies have been hiring flatbeds and strapping 40,000-pound containers onto them.

While the investigation into the fatal bicycle accident was going on, the Teamsters union called for more safety precautions to be taken by transportation companies. A spokesperson for the Teamsters said that truck drivers are under pressure to drive faster because they are being paid by the load rather than by the hour. She went on to say that the large trucking companies have a responsibility to ensure that the cargo they are delivering is being transported safely.

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As California workers may know, dust accumulation in a workplace environment may lead to an explosion when not monitored and and controlled. In a 25-year period ending in 2005, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board reported 281 combustible dust incidents that resulted in injuries to 718 workers and the death of 119.

Safe-handling procedures are important to lower the risk in environments where dust accumulates in the air. Combustible dust may accumulate in a number of work environments, including plants that work with sugar, wood, plastics, coal and pesticides. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in 2008, an explosion of sugar dust in a plant in Georgia resulted in the deaths of 14 individuals. Industries that may be subject to dust accumulation include metalworking operations, agriculture, pharmaceutical manufacture, and chemical manufacturing plants.

Control of hazardous conditions created by the accumulation of dust in the work environment may result in safer working conditions. With inspections and air testing conducted as a form of preventive maintenance, there may be less likelihood that adverse events might occur. According to OSHA, when combustible materials enter the air as dust and are suspended, an explosion may occur if the right conditions and concentration is reached. This includes materials such as iron that do not normally burn in larger pieces.

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Workplace accidents may not be the greatest public concern of California residents with regard to nursing care facilities, but worker safety and welfare is just as important as the well-being of the patients. OSHA announced its intention to more carefully monitor inpatient settings for worker safety concerns, especially in cases of facilities with high levels of reported accidents and employee illnesses related to work conditions.

Although health care injuries and illnesses might not seem as severe as issues like construction accidents, workers can face serious hazards in their handling of patients, medications and biomaterials. Moving patients can result in musculoskeletal injuries. Bloodborne pathogens, diseases such as tuberculosis, and germs like MRSA can also affect the health of workers. Workplace violence is a serious concern in these environments, while slips, trips and falls are common because of various activities in nursing homes. Hospital workers face similar hazards, which is why these areas are of particular concern to OSHA. A general duty provision addresses hazards that may not be clearly identified.

As OSHA intensifies its vigilance over inpatient facilities, it has also become more observant of similar issues in ambulatory health care facilities. The fines being assessed in some cases are more reflective of those normally levied against companies that have experienced fatality incidents. As this increased oversight plays out in the state and throughout the country, workers may find that employers become more receptive to complaints about safety violations.

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More crashes are the result of red-light running than drivers may realize, and it is a serious safety problem across the United States. California residents may be surprised to learn that about 165,000 people suffer injuries in such accidents each year around the country, and in 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded 762 related fatalities.

In 1999, Old Dominion University in Virginia conducted a survey to generalize the type of drivers who are most likely to run red lights. The survey found that red-light runners are not necessarily frustrated at the time. They are generally young, are in a hurry, are driving alone and either have no children or have children who are younger than 20. They are also frequently unemployed or work jobs that require relatively little education, such as lower technology and blue collar jobs. Additionally, they often run red lights more than 2 miles from home and are more likely to have previously received a ticket for running a red light.

In May 2004, the NHTSA also conducted a survey that found that 97 percent of drivers think that people who run red lights are a major threat to traffic safety. Four years later, the agency found that an average seven deadly and 1,000 injury car accidents occur every day at intersections that have traffic lights. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that, in 2007, about 50 percent of the people who died in crashes that involved red-light runners were not the ones who violated traffic laws.

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