What Are the Most Common Slip and Fall Accidents?

October 2, 2018 Slip Trip and Fall

In the movies, someone slipping on a banana peel is a time-tested laugh-getter. In real life, slipping and falling can

caution wet floor signIn the movies, someone slipping on a banana peel is a time-tested laugh-getter. In real life, slipping and falling can be serious indeed. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 33,381 people died as a result of unintentional falls last year. Each year, 25% of people over the age of 65 fall. Falls are one of the leading causes of injury and death in workplaces like construction sites. As any slip and fall lawyer in Los Angeles can tell you, these kinds of accidents happen far too often.

The consequences of slipping and falling can range from a twisted ankle to spinal cord or head injuries that can impair functioning and mobility for the rest of one’s life.

It stands to reason that people need to be careful about slipping and falling. But where do slips and falls mostly commonly take place? Here are four places where slip and fall accidents are most frequent.

1. Sidewalks

Sidewalks are built to facilitate safe walking. Unfortunately, sidewalks that are not well maintained may develop cracks and may deteriorate, making walking dangerous. Weeds can even start poking through the sidewalk, which will cause it to crack even more. It’s easy to trip and fall on a poorly maintained sidewalk.

2. Wet floors in stores and restaurants

Wet floors can easily cause patrons of stores and restaurants to slip and fall. In stores, wet floors can be caused by slipped liquid from a product — or even from someone’s spilled water bottle. In restaurants, servers or patrons may inadvertently spill beverages. Cleaning such as mopping or waxing will also make a floor wet.

Store managers and employees should move to place warning cones around a wet floor, and should clean up the area quickly.

3. Workplaces

Slips and falls are frequent in workplaces. On construction sites, for example, workers frequently are employed at high altitudes and walls or stairs that might make falling impossible in a finished building may not yet be completed.

Poorly maintained workplaces where floors are piled high with equipment, boxes, or even debris can also cause slip and fall accidents.

4. Stairs, Escalators, and Elevators

Areas where movement from one story to another take place are frequent sites of slip and fall accidents. Stairs that are poorly maintained, lack banisters, or have old or torn carpet can be especially dangerous. So can escalators that have been shut down — if they start abruptly again, people can be caught or thrown as they try to climb up. Similarly, elevators that have stopped and then start again can cause a fall to passengers. Both incidents can result in a trip to the hospital and a call to your local personal injury lawyer.

When You Need a Slip and Fall Lawyer in Southern California

California law is very clear on premises liability. Property owners are responsible for maintaining the safety of their buildings and grounds. If an area is dangerous, or if they should have known it was dangerous, they must fix the unsafe condition. Failure to do so is negligence, and a court can find them responsible for accidents that happen in the Los Angeles area due to lack of reasonably safe conditions.

If you feel you or a loved one was the victim of a slip and fall due to the negligence of another, please call experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney Sean Salamati today. There is no charge to you for an initial consultation, and you owe us no money unless we win money for you.

Additional Resources:

  1. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Workplace Solutions. Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls in Wholesale and Retail Trade Establishments. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2013-100/pdfs/2013-100.pdf
  2. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. Accidents or Unintentional Injuries. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/accidental-injury.htm
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Is a Car Making a Left Turn Always at Fault in an Accident?

September 26, 2018 Auto Accidents

Ever wonder whether drivers who are making a left turn can be held to blame if an accident occurs with

left turn only signEver wonder whether drivers who are making a left turn can be held to blame if an accident occurs with another vehicle that is going straight through an intersection?

Right-of-Way Laws Give Precedence to a Driver Going Straight

The answer is almost always yes. California right-of-way laws, like the right-of-way laws of most states, indicate that drivers going straight have the right of way over drivers turning left.

In addition, left-turning drivers are required to make sure the intersection is completely free of other vehicles (including bicycles and motorcycles), people, and obstacles. As a result, a driver turning left can be held negligent if the driver’s vehicle collides with a vehicle, pedestrian, or other object.

The only exception to these right-of-law standards occurs if the intersection has a signal with a green arrow indicating a left turn. In that case, a left-turning driver follows the arrow when it’s green.

These right-of-way rules apply to intersections with signals, with stop signs, and in the event of there being neither signals nor stop signs.

Are There Exceptions?

There are a few specific exceptions to the right-of-way left turn rules. Under these exceptions, the driver who made a left turn may be judged either only partly at fault or completely not at fault.

The first exception is if the straight-driving vehicle was going over the speed limit significantly. The left-turning driver may have reasonably thought sufficient time existed to make a turn, with the excess speed being the variable that made the time insufficient.

The second exception is if the left-turning driver began to turn when no pedestrian, vehicle, or obstacle existed to make it unsafe, but then a circumstance occurred that meant the car had to significantly slow or stop. The left-turning car may have then been in the intersection when another car with right of way approached. This could occur, for example, if a child darted into the road the car was turning into, causing the driver to delay the completion of the turn.

The third and final exception is when the car going straight faced a stop sign or traffic signal that was red, but did not obey those signals. In that case, the straight-driving car is required to stop, and could be accused of reckless driving.

Proving Negligence

For these exceptions to either completely or partially mitigate liability of the left-turning driver, proof is needed. Motorists in these situations should try to obtain the testimony of witnesses, take multiple pictures of the accident scene and the vehicles, and call the police. The police file a report that can be used as evidence in court. It’s also a good idea to check to see if the intersection was under surveillance cameras.

In addition, of course, if the driver with the right of way was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or driving distractedly, it may be possible to argue that it made the driver negligent for the accident, in part.

Because all these exceptions are difficult to proof, it is a good idea to discuss any left-turning accidents with a lawyer.

Call a Seasoned Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been in an accident caused by a left-turning driver, the southern California law offices of Sean Salamati can help.

Let us put our experience to work for you by calling the Los Angeles car accident lawyers at Salamati Law Firm. We will fight to see that justice is done.

Additional Resources:

  1. State of California Department of Motor Vehicles. California Driver Handbook. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/hdbk/driver_handbook_toc
  2. State of California Department of Motor Vehicles. California Driver Handbook. Laws and Rules of the Road. Right-of Way Rules. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/hdbk/right_of_way
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How Pain & Suffering Is Calculated in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

September 21, 2018 Personal Injury Lawsuits

Following a personal injury, the medical bills are often the easiest part of a settlement to calculate, but they are

Following a personal injury, the medical bills are often the easiest part of a settlement to calculate, but they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to full and complete compensation. A significant part of a settlement or verdict may be a component representing pain and suffering.

What is pain and suffering?

The law recognizes the right of a personal injury victim to be made whole by way of an injury lawsuit. This includes the right to recover both the economic damages that are represented by clearly-defined numbers like medical bills and lost wages, as well as non-economic damages. In some special cases, a plaintiff may also be able to recover punitive damages to punish a defendant for egregious action.

Pain and suffering is one of the most common non-economic damages commonly awarded. It includes both physical effects like past and anticipated future pain, scarring, and limitations on activities, as well as emotional pain like depression, PTSD, and insomnia.

What is my pain and suffering worth?

Pain and suffering is much less precise to quantify than economic damages. Attorneys and insurance adjusters use rules of thumb to arrive at starting numbers that are then tweaked based on the circumstances.

  • Multipliers – The approach familiar to most people, the multiplier approach starts with a number easy to determine – the amount of the medical bills – and multiplies it by a certain factor. The factor is often between 1.5 and 4, and can vary based on the severity of the injury. The insurance industry often relied on computer programs that use a multiplier to arrive at pain and suffering settlement amounts.
  • Per diem – More commonly seen in trial, attorneys may assign a dollar amount for each day of pain and value the pain and suffering at an amount equal to that amount times the number of days the pain and suffering has lasted or is expected to continue.

The numbers arrived at by these methods are only guidelines. They can be impacted by the amounts typically awarded by juries in personal injury cases in that geographic location, the severity of the injury, likelihood of temporary or permanent disability, the credibility of the plaintiff, and even whether the injury is the type to gain extra sympathy if it were to be heard by a jury.

Obtaining pain and suffering compensation in Southern California

There are many factors that can impact a plaintiff’s ultimate recovery of pain and suffering damages in southern CA. Speak with Los Angeles personal injury lawyer Sean Salamati to discuss your circumstance and whether you are entitled to pursue a claim.

At the Salamati Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping clients throughout Southern California hold those at fault responsible for their actions. We work with a team of experts and fight tirelessly for maximum compensation. Call today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Additional California personal injury pain and suffering resources:

  1. California Law Review, Placing a Price on Pain and Suffering: A Method for Helping Juries Determine Tort Damages for Nonmonetary Injuries, http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1672&context=californialawreview
  2. Justia, California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) 3905A. Physical Pain, Mental Suffering, and Emotional Distress (Noneconomic Damage), https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/3900/3905a.html
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How a Serious Injury Can Lead to Financial Ruin

September 17, 2018 Personal Injury Lawsuits

When someone suffers a serious injury and it is caused by another’s careless or intentional act, a natural sense of

Paramedics with man on stretcher in ambulance, low angle view

When someone suffers a serious injury and it is caused by another’s careless or intentional act, a natural sense of justice says that the at-fault party should be partially or fully responsible for the financial consequences. However, the hospitals and other care providers do not care about this – it is the injured party who will receive the out-of-pocket medical bills and potentially face debilitating economic strain. The law leaves it up to those injured to pursue the compensation to which they are entitled.

What happens after a serious accident in California

Unfortunately, we see the same patterns over and over again when clients from across Southern California visit after a severe injury. The injured party seeks medical care and any portion not covered by their medical insurance becomes their responsibility.

The medical bills may be difficult to pay on their own, but the situation compounds when the injury requires time off from work. Other expenses that add to the problem often include:

  • Rehabilitation sessions
  • Professional medical equipment
  • Labor costs involved in hiring workers that cannot be performed due to injury – this can include additional childcare providers to support single parents,, contractors to perform work that small business owners cannot complete, or even handyman services for basic home maintenance

These costs quickly grow, leading to what often feels like a mountain that is impossible to climb.

Financial effect of an accident

Even the most common accidents can lead to financial strain. Simple car accidents averaged $15,000 in medical bills in 2013, and serious and fatal accidents result in far higher bills that can top $1 million. According to the CDC, the average hospital cost following a fall injury is over $30,000.

As discussed earlier, the medical bills are just the tip of the iceberg following a serious injury. Because of the seemingly endless financial trap, many accident victims are tempted to accept a low-ball offer in order to pay bills as soon as possible – but this often means settling for far less than the case is worth and potentially not having the resources to meet all obligation.

Fighting for full compensation in Los Angeles

Statistics show that those who work with a personal injury attorney receive significantly higher compensation than those who do not. Dedicated LA accident attorneys help by working with experts to analyze, understand, and explain the factors that caused the accident and resulting injury, as well as why the defendant should be held responsible.

The Southern California personal injury attorneys at the Salamati Law Firm are committed to helping those who have suffered a serious injury obtain maximum compensation for their injuries. We put clients’ needs first, aggressively pursuing those who have caused harm in order to make things as right as possible.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident and believe someone else is to blame, call the Salamati Law Firm today. We always offer complimentary confidential consultations.

Additional resources on the financial impact of an accident:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Costs of Falls Among Older Adults, https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/fallcost.html
  2. Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, Cost of Auto Crashes & Statistics, http://www.rmiia.org/auto/traffic_safety/Cost_of_crashes.asp
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Do You Need a “Serious Injury” to File a Lawsuit in California?

September 15, 2018 Personal Injury Lawsuits

Too often, accidents cause serious or catastrophic bodily harm including dismemberment, disfigurement, organ damage, permanent disability, or even death. These serious

Standard manual wheelchair standing in empty hospital corridor

Too often, accidents cause serious or catastrophic bodily harm including dismemberment, disfigurement, organ damage, permanent disability, or even death. These serious injuries impact the lives of not just those injured, but also their closest loved ones who may have depended on the victim for support or may become full-time caregivers. California law recognizes the rights of these parties to recover from parties who carelessly or intentionally caused the injury.

California does not, however, require that injury victims suffer a serious injury in order to receive compensation from an at-fault party. Any person who has suffered an injury due to someone else’s wrongful actions may be entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit to recover for related losses. This is true even when a full recovery is expected.

Some people mistakenly believe that a serious injury is necessary in order to be eligible to bring a CA personal injury lawsuit. While that is not necessary, here are a few places “serious injury” comes up.

Auto accidents

When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, some states have adopted a “no fault” system, which limits the ability of car accident victims to bring a personal injury lawsuit unless they have suffered a serious bodily injury. These injuries are defined under their respective state statutes and can require permanent disability, loss of a limb, or other hallmarks of catastrophe.

California does not follow a no-fault system; those who are injured in an auto accident have the right to bring a lawsuit for any losses that they suffer, with a few caveats. First, if the victim was also partly to blame for the accident, recovery can be reduced by the proportion of his or her fault. Second, the lawsuit must be filed within the statute of limitations, which is two years from the date of the accident except under special circumstances.

Workplace injuries

When it comes to workplace injuries, Section 330(h), Title 8, of the California Administrative Code defines a “serious injury” as:

any injury or illness occurring in a place of employment or in connection with any employment which requires inpatient hospitalization for a period in excess of 24 hours for other than medical observation or in which an employee suffers a loss of any member of the body or suffers any serious degree of permanent disfigurement but does not include any injury or illness or death caused by the commission of a Penal Code violation, except the violation of Section 385 of the Penal Code, or an accident on a public street or highway

The state statutes require employers to take steps to prevent serious injuries as well as to report them promptly.

Recovering for personal injuries in Southern California

At Salamati Law, we know first-hand that even when a serious injury does not fall into the categories discussed above, it can disrupt the life of an individual and his or her family. That is why our team of Los Angeles personal injury lawyers work closely with experts who can help prove your claim and maximize recovery. We are prepared to fight for your best possible result. Call today for a free confidential consultation.

Additional serious injury resources:

  1. California Department of Industrial Relations, California Administrative Code Title 8 Section 330(h), https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/330.html
  2. California Courts, Statute of Limitations, http://www.courts.ca.gov/9618.htm
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Teenage Driver Safety: What To Tell Your Kids Before They Get Behind the Wheel

September 12, 2018 Auto Accidents

Children in southern California are heading back to school for the start of a new school year. If you have

Student driver passes exam and instructor hands her car keysChildren in southern California are heading back to school for the start of a new school year. If you have teens who are just starting to drive, there’s no time like the present to give them valuable lessons on teenage driver safety.

In the last year for which statistics are available, 2,333 teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were killed in vehicle crashes across the country — in other words, six every day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another 235,845 teens in this age group went to emergency departments with injuries sustained in vehicle accidents during the year. That’s an astonishing 646 teens per day.

Safe Driving Rules

Make sure your children know how to drive safely. Don’t assume that passing their driver’s test is enough. Either teach them, have an experienced adult teach them, or enroll them in safe driving courses. Focus on obeying the rules of the road, including the speed limit.

Emphasize the importance of seat belts. Forty-eight percent of teenagers who die in vehicle accidents are not wearing seat belts. If they will be driving other students to school, stress that younger children should be both in the back seat and bucked in, and everyone, of any age, needs to wear a seat belt.

If they are driving with other teenagers, be especially careful. The risk of accidents rises when teens drive with other teens in the car. In fact, the CDC recommends keeping the number of teen passengers to 0 or 1 for the first six months your child has a license.

Caution Teens About Distracted, Drowsy, and Impaired Driving

Distracted driving, or driving while texting, talking on the phone, playing a video game, or just gazing around instead of looking is a growing threat to vehicle safety across the country. In the last year for which statistics are available, almost 3,500 people (of all ages) were killed in distracted driving-related accidents, and 391,000 were injured. Teenagers are believed to be the largest group of distracted drivers.

Drowsy driving is nearly as dangerous. Make sure your teenager gets enough sleep. If they are unable to get enough sleep, consider making them take another form of transportation. Being drowsy slows reaction time and leads to a greater risk of collisions.

Fortunately, many schools have programs concerning the risk of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol in high school. Reinforce the message. Don’t drink and drive. Even a single drink can raise the risk of a motor vehicle accident.

If your school doesn’t have such a program, discuss how to avoid drinking and driving with your teenager. If they are going to a party, they should either not drink or choose a designated driver.

When You Need a Car Accident Lawyer in the Los Angeles Area

It’s imperative to stress the importance of safe driving to your teenager. But the sad fact is, hundreds of car accidents happen in southern California every day.

If you or a loved one is hurt or killed in a car accident, call the Salamati Law Firm today. We are experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyers. Your case will be reviewed by seasoned professionals and there is no charge to you for an initial consultation.

Additional Resources:

  1. National Safety Council. Back to School Safety Checklist. https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/seasonal-safety/back-to-school.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Teen Drivers: Get the Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html
  3. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Parents Are the Key to Safe Teen Drivers. Eight Danger Zones. https://www.cdc.gov/parentsarethekey/danger/index.html
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What Evidence Do You Need in a Slip and Fall Case?

September 7, 2018 Slip Trip and Fall

Every year, thousands of people are injured in accidents where they slip and fall due to the negligence of another

caution wet floor

Every year, thousands of people are injured in accidents where they slip and fall due to the negligence of another party. You might slip on a slick surface in a store or office building, because no one has cleaned up rain water or the shattered glass and liquid from another customer’s dropped purchase — or any one of the multiple things that cause a slip and fall.

As a result, you might be facing mounting medical bills, time lost from work, and more.

You might be entitled to damages as a result of your injuries from a slip and fall accident. But courts and juries, of course, need evidence. A slip and fall lawyer in Los Angeles will be crucial to making your case.

Evidence Needed for a Slip and Fall Accident Claim

Briefly, you need evidence that you were injured, evidence of the nature of the injuries, and evidence that the conditions were dangerous due to negligence, and that it wasn’t simply your own carelessness or actions.

Negligence means that action that should have been taken to make property safe to walk on wasn’t taken. Both businesses and private property owners must, under the law, exercise reasonable care to maintain their premises so that conditions are safe. If something happens that may make premises unsafe, such as a broken sidewalk or ice, property owners must take action to make it safe as soon as they know about it. That includes fixing their property, getting rid of ice, and putting warning signs around any unsafe areas.

Here’s the evidence you need in a slip and fall, and how to obtain it.

1. Proof of injury

There are several ways to obtain proof of your injury.

First, see a physician right away. If your arm or wrist hurts, for example, they could be broken. Tell your doctor clearly what happened. If you do make a medical claim, the doctor’s records and recommendations for treatment can be part of the evidence.

Be sure to keep records of the bills and any other treatment bills, such as physical therapy or medication.

Second, take multiple pictures of your injuries. Remember, you can say you were bruised or had gashes on your arm, but these will go away. You need pictures of them when they were fresh. Use your cell phones camera if you have it, or a friend’s camera.

Third, report the incident. If it occurs in a business, talk to the manager in charge or the owner before you leave, if possible. If there is no manager available, call the owner as soon as possible after the accident.

2. Proof of Dangerous Conditions

Second, you also need proof of dangerous conditions.

For this, too, your camera is your friend. Take pictures of the scene from every angle. Was liquid spilled or conditions icy? Make sure everyone who wasn’t there can see the conditions.

Second, a report to the owner or manager is needed for this as well.

Third, if you can’t find an owner or manager, and the dangerous area is a public hazard, consider calling the police. A broken sidewalk or un-shoveled ice, for example, could imperil many people. They will make a police report, which your personal injury lawyer can use for evidence.

Fourth, if there are witnesses to your accident, talk to them, get their contact information, and take notes on what they say.

When You Need an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney in Los Angeles

Were you or a loved one injured in a slip and fall accident in southern California? The Salamati Law Firm is experienced and aggressive in premises liability cases. Call us today for a free consultation and speak with a seasoned Los Angeles personal injury attorney.

Additional Resources:

  1. National Restaurant Association. Don’t Trip Up: Preventing Slips and Falls. https://www.restaurant.org/Manage-My-Restaurant/Operations/Back-of-House/Dont-trip-up-Preventing-slips-and-falls
  2. National Safety Council. Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention Training. https://www.nsc.org/safety-training/workplace/slips-trips-and-falls
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Car Accidents and Concussions: What You Need to Know

August 17, 2018 Auto Accidents, Brain Injuries

Concussions are serious head injuries that can cause multiple symptoms and deterioration in the brain. Concussions have been in the

head injury after car accident

Concussions are serious head injuries that can cause multiple symptoms and deterioration in the brain. Concussions have been in the news a lot lately, especially in regard to the danger they pose to youth and adults who play sports. But many may not realize how frequent concussions (and TBI, or traumatic brain injuries) are in car accidents.

Concussions Are a Leading Cause of Emergency Room Visits

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vehicle accidents were the #3 cause of emergency department visits related to TBIs. Falls were the #1 cause and being struck by an object was #2. Fourteen percent of these visits, hospitalizations, and fatalities related to TBIs stemmed from vehicle accidents.

TBIs cause approximately 50,000 deaths annually, and 17% of them arise after car accidents.

Multiple Symptoms Can Indicate Concussion

It’s also important to realize that multiple symptoms can indicate a concussion. Many people believe that you have to be knocked unconscious to have a concussion. That’s simply not true.

It helps to know how a concussion occurs. It is caused by your brain rocking back and forth within your cranium. The CDC notes that a direct head impact can certainly cause this, as can being jostled. In other words, the kind of car accident that causes you to be jostled back and forth can cause a concussion, whether you hit your head or become unconscious or not.

The symptoms of a concussion can be oriented around the head, such as headache, confusion, or disorientation. Memory or concentration may feel impacted in the wake of a concussion. Your pupils may be dilated or your vision might be blurry. You may experience ringing in your ears (tinnitus).

But some concussion symptoms are not centered around the head. Drowsiness and/or fatigue, nausea, vomiting, difficulty sleeping, light and/or noise sensitivity, and mood changes can all be signs of a concussion as well.

The symptoms of a concussion may not manifest immediately. People who have been in a car accident should be vigilant about monitoring themselves for symptoms of a concussion.

See a Doctor After an Accident

Because concussions are so frequent after a vehicle accident in southern California, it needs to be standard practice to see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident occurs.

A doctor can thoroughly assess you or your loved one who has been in an accident for symptoms of a concussion. They check for pupil dilation, for example, and check for other symptoms.

These symptoms may not manifest immediately. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, being aware and monitoring possible symptoms is  crucial.

Concussion After a Car Accident in Los Angeles? Call Sean Salamati

Have you or a loved on been in a car accident in the Los Angeles area? If you need legal advice, whether it concerns a possible TBI or not, contact Los Angeles personal injury lawyer Sean Salamati today.

Our investigators will find the facts of the accident and what caused any harm done to you or a loved one. We fight for justice. An initial consultation occurs at no cost to you.

Additional “Car Accident Concussion” Resources:

  1. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heads Up. Brain Injury Basics. Recovery from Concussion. https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_recovery.html
  2. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traumatic Brain Injury & Concussion. Basic Information. TBI: Get the Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html
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DUI Deaths: Can the Bar That Sold the Alcohol Be Held Liable?

August 7, 2018 Auto Accidents

Every year, hundreds of innocent people are killed on California’s roads by intoxicated drivers.  According to CA traffic statistics, alcohol-impaired

Every year, hundreds of innocent people are killed on California’s roads by intoxicated drivers.  According to CA traffic statistics, alcohol-impaired accident fatalities increased to 1,059 in 2017.  When it comes to seeking justice in DUI deaths, can the bar that sold alcohol to the driver be held liable for damages?

Dram Shop Laws

A dram shop law is a statutory provision that holds a bar or business establishment liable for selling alcohol to an intoxicated patron who causes injury or death as a result of their drunken state. At present, 30 U.S. states have comprehensive dram shop laws that allow liquor stores, bars or restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages to be sued for damages in such cases.

California is among a handful of states that limits civil liability under dram shop laws. Civil Code Section 1714 affords protections for bar owners and other business establishments from liability in situations where a patron drinks alcohol at their premises, leaves and subsequently injures or kills another person in a drunk driving accident.

Civil Code 1714 mandates: “Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care…the furnishing of alcoholic beverages is not the proximate cause of injuries resulting from intoxication, but rather the consumption of alcoholic beverages is the proximate cause of injuries inflicted upon another by an intoxicated person.”

While a bar owner may not be charged with a felony or sued for civil damages under California dram shop provisions, the bar owner can face misdemeanor charges, fines and possible jail time.

The reasoning behind this legislation is that it can be challenging to determine who is to blame if a drunk person injures another in an auto accident after leaving a bar or other establishment, since strict liability infers that the bar was directly responsible simply by serving alcohol. In other words, the consumption of alcohol, not the serving of it, is the proximate cause of the accident.

Liability for serving alcohol to a minor in California

California dram shop law does have one notable exception to this civil immunity. If a bar, restaurant or other commercial purveyor serves alcohol to a minor who is obviously inebriated at the time of service, they can be sued for any resulting injury or death caused by this individual.

Consequently, any club, bar, concert venue or establishment can be held liable for wrongful death or personal injury if they served alcohol to a person under the age of 21 who was visibly drunk and later caused an accident that killed or injured another.

Los Angeles DUI accident attorney

If you have questions about dram shop laws in California or need experienced representation from a car accident attorney Los Angeles trusts, contact the Salamati Law Firm for a free, private consultation.

Additional Resources on California DUI Deaths:

  1. ABC California, ENFORCEMENT AND VIOIATIONS https://www.abc.ca.gov/questions/enforcement_faq1.html
  2. National Conference of State Legislatures, AM SHOP CIVIL LIABILITY AND CRIMINAL PENALTY STATE STATUTES http://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/dram-shop-liability-state-statutes.aspx
  3. OTS California, 2017 Annual Report https://www.ots.ca.gov/Media_and_Research/Publications_and_Reports/doc/CA_OTS_2017_Annual_Report.pdf
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Lack of Staffing in Nursing Homes Affects Resident Care

August 6, 2018 Elder Abuse

Recent federal data suggests that most nursing homes had fewer workers on staff than they had self-reported to federal agencies.

senior woman in nursing home clasped hand

Recent federal data suggests that most nursing homes had fewer workers on staff than they had self-reported to federal agencies. The news confirms the suspicions of many residents of long-term care facilities and their family members and puts residents at risk.

Data shows nursing homes overstate staffing

The recent data comes from an analysis by Kaiser Health News, which reviewed daily staffing reports from 14,000 nursing homes, which in the past had been unavailable but which are now being provided in accordance with requirements under the Affordable Care Act of 2010. The review indicates that many nursing homes’ ratings under the government’s five-star rating program, which is based on self-reported data, often exaggerated the level of staffing.

Not only does the analysis show that the nursing home staffing numbers differ from what facilities represented to the government, but in many cases they fell below the minimum required. Medicare does not set a minimum ratio of staff to residents, but it does require that each facility have a registered nurse present at least eight hours per day, and a licensed nurse present at all times. Even facilities that Medicare has granted high ratings for staffing levels fell short on meeting these requirements. In just the last three months of 2017, one out of every four nursing homes did not have a nurse on staff for at least one day.

Pitfalls of short staffing in nursing facilities

Though Medicare has rejected pleas that it set minimum staffing ratios, federal data shows that one out of every eight facilities has been cited for inadequate staffing. Industry observers point out that when there is inadequate staff, overworked employees need to focus on immediate tasks like feeding residents, while foregoing other necessary but seemingly less pressing tasks like moving residents to prevent bedsores. Unsurprisingly, residents in short-handed nursing homes are more likely to suffer complications like bedsores, infections, malnutrition, dehydration, weight loss, and pneumonia.

Under staffing has been such a big problem in some California nursing homes that residents in Cupertino are taking action. Last June, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of Robert Barbendel against Cupertino Healthcare & Wellness Center, alleging that the chain of over a dozen nursing and rehabilitation facilities intentionally violates laws by admitting new residents without informing them that there is inadequate staff to care for them. The complaint alleges that the nursing facilities under staff in order to net a larger profit.

Holding nursing homes in Southern California accountable

The Cupertino lawsuit is one approach to holding nursing homes accountable for not maintaining safe staff ratios. When residents have been harmed by neglect due to under staffing, they or their loved ones may be entitled to file a lawsuit. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries due to nursing home neglect in California, speak with a Los Angeles nursing home abuse lawyer at the Salamati Law Firm. If you have concerns about a loved one’s nursing home injuries, call 855-544-0776 today to schedule a free consultation.

Additional nursing home under staffing resources:

  1. New York Times, ‘It’s Almost Like a Ghost Town.’ Most Nursing Homes Overstated Staffing for Years, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/07/health/nursing-homes-staffing-medicare.html
  2. Mercury News, Lawsuit accuses Cupertino nursing home of under staffing to increase profit, https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/07/30/lawsuit-accuses-cupertino-nursing-home-of-understaffing-to-increase-profit/
  3. Journal of the National Medical Association, Understaffed Nursing Homes Affecting Patients, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2594332/pdf/jnma00322-0014b.pdf
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