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fake-bike-helmets-injuryCycling is a great way for people to exercise, enjoy some scenery or commute to their jobs in California. More Californians are turning to bicycles as an alternative form of transportation because of a desire to help to protect the environment while enjoying the health benefits of cycling. When bicycle riders share the roads with motor vehicles, they have a higher risk of suffering serious injuries or being killed in accidents because they have little protection from the forces of collisions.

Wearing bicycle helmets every time that cyclists ride their bicycles can help to protect them from severe injuries when they are thrown from their bicycles or struck in the head in accidents. Unfortunately, however, cyclists must be careful when they purchase bicycle helmets. According to a report in NPR, counterfeit bicycle helmets that do not meet U.S. safety standards are flooding the market via the internet.

Why counterfeit helmets are dangerous

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California-Wrongful-Death-AttorneyWhen people participate in sports and are injured, they may have legal rights to sue in some cases even if they signed waivers of liability. In Hass v. RhodyCo Productions, Cal. Ct. App., Case No. A142418, a wrongful death lawsuit, the court found that an express waiver of liability and the primary assumption of the risk doctrine do not bar lawsuits when the conduct amounts to gross negligence.

Factual background

Peter Hass was a man who participated in the 2011 Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon. After he crossed the finish line, Hass suffered a heart attack and subsequently died. The organizer of the event, RhodyCo Productions, provided production services and event management for the half-marathon from 2006 to 2011. RhodyCo Productions had to submit an emergency medical services plan to the city in order to get the permits to close the streets. The plan said that medical services would be provided by American Medical Response and the Palmer College of Chiropractic – West. The plan said that PCCW would supply event-trained medical personnel who were students with CPR certifications. It also said that there would be med tents located at several places, including at the finish line and that the head clinician, a chiropractic doctor, would be located in the postrace tent on the day of the race. In other parts of the plan, it stated that there would be one medical doctor and six emergency medical technicians at the finish line along with an automatic external defibrillator.

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Los-Angeles-Car-AccidentsBecause of the high accident fatality rate in Los Angeles, the city implemented its Vision Zero initiative in 2015. The initiative is focused on reducing traffic deaths to zero by 2025. However, the city has some of the highest fatality rates in the U.S., leading the city to try new approaches to curb fatalities. One of these new efforts is adding new speed limits and better signs on streets throughout the city. If you have been injured in an accident or have lost a loved one, getting help from an experienced personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat might help you to recover compensation for your losses.

New speed limits announced

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city was implementing new speed limits on 71 different streets around Los Angeles on Feb. 28. The new speed limits were implemented in an effort to address the city’s high motor vehicle fatality rate. Garcetti stated that the new speed limits would also come with increased enforcement efforts in order to gain higher compliance with them. He also stated that many drivers in the city simply drive with the flow of traffic and have no idea of what the speed limits are on the roads on which they travel. Most streets did not have their speed limits changed. However, 45 streets had their speed limits decreased while 26 had their limits increased. The mayor indicated that the changes were necessary to reduce the city’s fatality rate even further with the goal of reaching zero fatalities by 2025.

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In California, the family members of people who are killed while they are working may recover benefits through workers’ compensation. When the accidents are caused by the negligence of third parties, the families may be able to file third-party lawsuits against the third parties in addition to their workers’ compensation claims. In some cases, failures to act may be compensable if they are negligent. In Peredia v. HR Mobile Services, Inc., Cal App. # F074083, the court ruled that a third-party safety consultant could be held liable for omissions if the plaintiff is able to prove all of the elements of the negligent undertaking by the consultant.

Factual background of the case

Oscar J. Perdia, Jr. was a 19-year-old man who was employed by Double Diamond Farms. Double Diamond Farms had hired HR Mobile Services to help the farm with workers’ compensation issues, training, loss prevention and human resources. HR Mobile agreed that it helped Double Diamond with workplace safety issues. Double Diamond Farm paid HR Mobile $24,000 per year for its services.

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Despite Mayor Eric Garcetti’s ambitious Vision Zero program, which he launched in August 2015 in a drive to reduce traffic fatalities to zero by the year 2025, bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in Los Angeles have increased. In 2017, 245 people were killed in traffic accidents in the city, and 60 percent of the people who died were walking or riding bicycles at the time of their collisions. This was almost twice the number of people who were killed in traffic accidents in the city in 2016, underscoring the need for further attention. A group of cyclists has become politically active in an effort to get better safety measures in place.

Frederick Frazier accident

In April 2018, Frederick Frazier, a 22-year-old man, went for a ride on his bicycle. Frazier turned onto the far right-hand side of Manchester Boulevard. He was riding his bicycle between the cars that were parked along the right side of the road and the traffic when a white Porsche sped up behind him. Instead of slowing, the Porsche increased its speed behind him as was revealed by a video of the traffic. The Porsche struck Frazier and his bicycle hard enough that the force of the crash broke his bicycle in half. The Porsche’s driver did not stop and instead drove away, leaving Frazier to die in the street. Frazier’s hit-and-run accident was the first one of four that would occur over the next six days. It also was the type of bicycle collision that we have previously highlighted as being among the most dangerous. Cyclists are often struck when they turn right onto busy surface roads such as Manchester.

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In California and elsewhere in the U.S., the federal government enjoys sovereign immunity from liability in most cases. However, the immunity is waived in cases in which torts arise out of the negligent actions of employees while they are working within the course and scope of their employment. If you have suffered a serious injury because of the negligence of a governmental employee, you may be able to recover damages because of the waiver of sovereign immunity in tort claims involving negligence. As was demonstrated by the recently decided case of Morales v. United States, No. 17-15215 (9th Cir. 2018), the waiver of immunity does have some exceptions, however.

Factual and procedural background of the case

A helicopter was being piloted in Prescott, Arizona over the Verde River in June 2012 when it hit a suspended cable that was not marked. The cable was 40 feet up in the air over the river. The United States Geological Survey had installed the cable in 1934 to collect water samples and streamflow measurements. It had been used continuously since 1988 and was nearly invisible from distances of 100 feet away. Despite this, the USGS never marked the cable or added warnings about it because the cable did not meet the agency’s guidelines for marking.

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High-speed police pursuits in Los Angeles and across California place the lives of innocent bystanders at risk. When police pursue suspects, they sometimes cause accidents with other motorists or pedestrians. People who are injured and the families of those who are killed in police pursuits may have little recourse because of governmental immunity. The California Supreme Court will soon hear the case of Ramirez v. City of Gardena, Cal. Ct. App. No. B279873, a case in which there is a question of how broadly the immunity from lawsuits should be interpreted when police engage in high-speed pursuits.

Factual and procedural background

On Feb. 15, 2015, Mark Gamar was riding as a passenger in a vehicle. A report had been made to law enforcement that cell phones had been stolen at gunpoint, and the vehicle in which Gamar was riding matched the description. Police officers who saw the truck in which Gamar was a passenger engaged in a high-speed pursuit of it. An officer performed a pursuit intervention technique maneuver in which the officer struck the left rear end of the truck to get it to stop. The collision caused the truck to spin out of control and strike a streetlight pole. Gamar was killed in the collision, and his mother filed a lawsuit against the city and the police department. The city filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it was protected from lawsuits by governmental immunity. The court agreed and granted the motion. Gamar’s mother, Irma Ramirez, appealed the dismissal to the California Court of Appeals. The appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision. She then filed an appeal to the California Supreme Court, which will decide how broad qualified immunity for officers engaged in pursuits is when accidents happen.

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Drivers in California who are confronted with unexpected emergency situations and who react reasonably to the circumstances cannot be held to be liable if they cause injuries to others. In Shiver v. Laramie, (2018) Cal. App. 2d, Case No. B283420, the appeals court ruled that the emergency doctrine can apply in cases that involve road rage.

Factual background

In Sept. 2014, three cars were driving in the on-ramp to the U.S. 101 freeway in Santa Maria to merge into the southbound lanes. A tractor-trailer was being driven in the #3 lane of the freeway, which was the far right lane into which the three cars were trying to merge. The driver of the tractor-trailer, Charles Laramee, saw the three vehicles on the on-ramp and noticed that a black car was driving aggressively behind the front car. The front car was being driven by a woman named Michelle Adams.

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In California, many liability insurance policies contain exclusions for injuries that result from intentional acts. This means that it can be difficult for injured victims to recover compensation when they are injured by the intentional actions of insured parties. In Liberty Surplus Insurance Corp. v. Ledesma & Meyer Construction Company Inc., Case No. S236765, the California Supreme Court recently addressed a case in which the employee of a construction company committed a sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl while he was working on a construction site at a school. The insurance company tried to assert that the exclusion for coverage applied because the act of the employee was intentional, and the company filed a lawsuit against the insurance company.

Factual background

The Ledesma & Meyer Construction Company secured a contract from the San Bernadino Unified School District to complete a construction project at a middle school. The company hired a man named Darrell Hecht to serve as an assistant superintendent and assigned him to manage the construction project at the middle school. While Hecht was on site at the school, he sexually molested a 13-year-old girl. The girl’s family filed a lawsuit against the Ledesma & Meyer Construction Company alleging that the company negligently hired, supervised and retained Hecht.

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Emergency-Room-Bills-Personal-Injury-AccidentWhen people in California have health insurance through health management organizations, they normally will go to their in-network providers for care. However, when people are injured in accidents and are forced to seek care in emergency departments, the hospitals may not have pre-negotiated contracts with the HMOs. This might mean that the HMOs may refuse to pay the full amount that they are billed for the provided services. In some cases, doctors have subsequently billed the patients for the balance between what they billed the HMOs and the amounts that they received, which is a practice called balance billing. The Supreme Court of California ruled that balance billing is not allowed in the state in Prospect Health Source Medical Group, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. Saint John’s Emergency Medicine Specialists, Inc., et al., Defendants and Respondents, 45 Cal.4th 497 (2009).

Factual background of the case

Prospect Health Source Medical Group is an individual practice care association that manages care through written contracts with health plans. It contracts with medical providers and hospitals to provide patient care to its members at contracted rates. When people go to one of the providers in the network, Prospect pays the provider the agreed-upon rate. However, patients who have to go to the emergency department might go to a hospital that does not have a contract with Prospect.

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