Articles Posted in Accidents

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Los-Angeles-Pedestrian-Bicycle-Accident-LawyersCalifornians should be able to walk or ride bicycles safely in cities across the state. However, the roads in most of the state’s cities are woefully inadequate, endangering pedestrians and cyclists. Many state roads that run through cities are congested with vehicle traffic, and many do not have the right infrastructure to allow cyclists to share them with cars or pedestrians to safely cross them. The lack of adequate infrastructure on state roads that double as streets in cities in California has contributed to the high injury and fatality rates of bicyclists and pedestrians.

One bill, SB 127, that was passed in the legislature would have helped to solve some of the issues by requiring Caltrans to add safety infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians when state roads that double as streets in cities are repaired. However, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently vetoed this bill instead of signing it into law. His action potentially threatens the safety of many Californians when they ride bicycles or choose to walk to reach their destinations.

Pedestrian and bicycle injury and fatality statistics

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wrongful-death-lawyer-los-angelesThe family members of people who are killed by the negligent or wrongful actions of others in California can file wrongful death lawsuits against the negligent or wrongful actors. By filing lawsuits, the family members might recover damages to compensate them for their economic and non-economic losses. While economic losses are fairly simple to calculate, non-economic damages are more nebulous and difficult to calculate. In Fernandez v. Jimenez, Cal. Ct. App., No. B281518, the court considered whether a non-economic damages award of $45 million was excessive in a wrongful death case.

Factual and procedural background

Claudia Fernandez was a single mother who was 38-years-old. She had four children who ranged in ages from 22 to 10 and worked in an animal hospital to support them. Her children’s names were Rachel Fernandez, Jeremy Valle, Donovan Valle, and Ryan Valle. Rachel was attending college, and the three younger brothers were all enrolled in school.

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Los-Angeles-Bicycle-AccidentsLos Angeles should be one of the best cities to ride bicycles in the U.S. With its balmy weather, year-round warmth, sunshine, and spectacular views, bicyclists should be able to enjoy riding their bicycles for recreation and transportation. The streets are very congested, making bicycling a good option for getting to your destination faster than you might if you drove your car. While these factors should make Los Angeles ideal for bicycle riding, it is instead the most dangerous city in America for people to ride their bicycles. The dangers to cyclists in Los Angeles result from several different factors that the city needs to address.

Statistics

From 2014 to 2016, 180 bicyclists were killed in Los Angeles, and many others were seriously injured. The city had more bicycle fatalities than any other city in the U.S. It also surpassed the bicycle fatality rates of every state other than California, Florida, and New York.[1] The high number of fatalities results from several factors, including congestion, a lack of bicycle infrastructure, poor road maintenance, and failures to act by politicians.

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Lyft-Accident-Injury-Attorney-Los-Angeles-300x200Ride-share apps have transformed how people in California and elsewhere hail rides. Instead of calling and scheduling a taxicab, people simply have to download an app to be connected to any number of nearby Lyft or Uber drivers who are near to them. When these apps emerged on the scene in 2010, they quickly became popular. While the companies ostensibly conduct background checks of their drivers, however, many riders have reported that they were sexually assaulted by ride-share drivers. Recently, 14 people filed a lawsuit against Lyft in San Francisco, alleging that they were raped by their drivers.

Lyft lawsuit alleges rapes by drivers

The 14 plaintiffs in the lawsuit all allege that they were raped or sexually assaulted by their Lyft drivers. One plaintiff stated that she was raped in Oct. 2018. Her driver drove her around for five hours with the doors locked before forcibly raping her on a beach. Another states that she was sexually assaulted in Dec. 2018. She reported the assault to Lyft, and Lyft said it would investigate. However, she never received an update from the company and does not know the status of the driver’s employment with the company.

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scooter-accident-injury-attorneys-Los-AngelesThanks to startup companies, including Lyft, Lime, and Bird, e-scooters have become a nearly ubiquitous part of Los Angeles’s landscape. Tourists and residents can unlock these scooters with their smartphones and ride them to get to where they need to go or to use for sightseeing. While e-scooters can be fun to use and are better for the environment, they also carry risks of injury for both the riders and for others around them. You need to understand the dangers of riding electric scooters, how accidents happen with them, and how to minimize your risk of accidents. If you are injured in an e-scooter accident, you also should understand your rights.

Dangers of riding electric scooters in Los Angeles

While e-scooters seem to be everywhere in Los Angeles, riding them can be dangerous to riders and pedestrians. Many people who rent scooters do not have experience in how to handle them. They might be tourists who want a quick way to get around who rent e-scooters. Some riders choose to ride them on sidewalks even though it is illegal to do so in Los Angeles, which places pedestrians at risk. E-scooter riders are supposed to ride their scooters on streets or in bicycle lanes. However, many areas in Los Angeles do not have bicycle lanes, and forcing e-scooter riders to share the roads with motor vehicles places the riders in danger from collisions with cars. Finally, many people ride e-scooters without helmets. The companies that have rental scooters in place do not provide helmets for riders to use.

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Los-Angeles-Bike-Accident-LawyerWhy do urban areas like Los Angeles CA have so many bicycle accidents? While there has been a large push in cities around the world to encourage cycling, some major urban areas, including Los Angeles, have entrenched safety problems for cyclists. In 2018, Bicycling Magazine named Los Angeles as the worst city in the U.S. for bicyclists and reported that Los Angeles County had more cyclist deaths than all but three states as a whole during the three years from 2014 to 2016. While the city has engaged in efforts to reduce bicycle and other traffic fatalities, the data demonstrates that more needs to be done.

The problem of bicycle fatalities in Los Angeles

Los Angeles has attempted to address the problems of bicycle safety by devoting additional funds to safety projects such as road diets. Despite these efforts, however, cycling fatalities have increased. In 2018, for example, preliminary data for Los Angeles shows that 21 cyclists were killed in accidents with motor vehicles, which was an increase from the 17 who were killed in 2015 at the beginning of the Vision Zero initiative.

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Los-Angeles-Freeway-Accident-LawyerIn accidents that are caused by the defendants’ violation of the law, people may be able to claim negligence per se. When an accident results from breaking a traffic law, it is enough to prove the element of negligence. Once a defendant’s negligence has been established, the plaintiff will then need to prove that the negligence resulted in the accident and that he or she suffered injuries and harm because of the defendant’s breach of his or her duty of care.

In Baker-Smith v. Skolnick, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B282946, the court considered whether the defense can raise a defense of excuse in cases that involve negligence per se. While the court found that excuse can be raised in some negligence per se cases, it is not available when the potential harms are serious.

Factual and procedural background

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3M-Earplug-Lawsuit-Lawyer-CaliforniaIf you are a current or former member of the U.S. military who has a hearing loss or who suffers from tinnitus, your condition may have been caused by defective combat earplugs. These earplugs were sold to the government by 3M and are called the Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 or CAEv2. In 2018, 3M reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and agreed to pay $9.1 million for its failure to disclose that the earplugs were defectively designed. These defects led to hearing losses and tinnitus in thousands of military service members who used them.

The Los Angeles injury lawyers at Steven M. Sweat APC are currently reviewing defective earplugs cases to veterans who have suffered hearing losses or tinnitus after using the CAEv2 earplugs. The earplugs were used by service members who served from 2003 to 2015 and were olive and yellow in color. If you remember using these earplugs and have suffered a hearing loss, contact our office today for a free case review from an experienced California attorney.

The contract with 3M & Aearo Technologies

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child-bike-accidentsPeople who lose loved ones in accidents that are caused by the negligence of others have the right to file wrongful death lawsuits against the responsible parties. When they are unable to reach a settlement agreement, they can go to jury trials. In Hernandez v. First Student, Inc., Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B281161, the parents of a 13-year-old boy who was killed while riding his bicycle went to trial. However, they did not secure the outcome that they wanted and filed an appeal. The case demonstrates the importance of making timely objections during a trial to preserve the record on appeal. If an attorney fails to make objections at the proper time, the arguments may be forfeited on appeal.

Factual and procedural background

On May 2, 2013, 13-year-old Jonathan Hernandez was riding his bicycle on a sidewalk. He entered into the street without stopping, and he was struck by a school bus. The bus was being driven by Barbara Calderon and was owned by First Student. At the time, Calderon was returning the bus to the school after completing her route. Michael Kennedy was an aide who was also on the school bus at the time.

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California plaintiffs who win verdict awards in personal injury cases may have their awards of future damages for reductions in earning capacity and medical expenses reduced to their present value. This is because the courts recognize that future money is worth less than it is now, and the future amounts that are awarded account for the value of the money if it was invested today. In Lewis v. Ukran, Cal. Ct. App. No. B290128, the California Court of Appeal reviewed a case in which damages that were awarded for future losses were not reduced to their present value in a case in which neither side presented evidence about the discount rate or about inflation.

Factual and procedural background

Thyme Lewis, a 51-year-old stunt worker in the entertainment industry, was operating his motorcycle on May 26, 2013. Aleksandr Ukran was driving a van for his employer, LGI. Ukran made a sharp lefthand turn in front of Lewis’s oncoming motorcycle. While Lewis braked, he was unable to avoid a collision. His front tire struck the side of Ukran’s van, causing him to be thrown off of the motorcycle and onto the top of the van. The accident caused him to suffer major injuries throughout his body.

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