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Football field

When our children head onto a high school sports field or court, we don’t anticipate that they will sustain a catastrophic injury.  However, many high school athletes suffer from traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, particular when they play contact sports like football or hockey.  Last November, a Riverside County high school linebacker, Jordan Walker, suffered serious trauma to his spinal cord and neck that left him paralyzed.  Walker was featured in a recent article in The Press-Enterprise because it looks as though he may be able to return home to continue rehabilitation in Southern California.  Since the accident, the high school football player has been receiving treatment in Colorado.

Have you or a loved one sustained a catastrophic injury to the head or neck?  Has your child suffered from a traumatic brain injury or a sports-related spinal cord injury?  You may be able to file a claim for compensation.  While each case is different, an experienced San Diego spinal injury lawyer can examine your case for you today.

High School Football Serious Injuries

How did Walker’s accident happen?  During a routine high school football game on November 22, 2013, a running back from Upland High School had the ball and “plunged over players at the line of scrimmage,” where he collided with Walker.  According to a coach who witnessed the accident, “Walker shot up for the tackle when he spotted the running back above him,” but “a split –second later, the other player landed on Walker’s head and their lives changed forever.”

The young linebacker suffered breaks of critical cervical vertebrae in his spinal column.  While Walker remains able to use the muscles in his neck and can “feel from the chest up,” according to his father, he remains largely paralyzed from the dangerous sports accident.  Despite being in rehabilitation for many months, he cannot move his arms, his hands, or his legs.  Within the first month of his injury, Walker lost 65 pounds.  Indeed, his weight dropped from 195 to 130.  During that period, he remained in intensive care on a feeding tube.

The high school athlete has made some progress.  After months of medical care, he is able to breath without a ventilator.  He has even taken a couple of outings with his family.  Yet he continues to require a tracheostomy tube, which is inserted in his throat to “suck his lungs clean because he hasn’t been strong enough to cough up secretions that would otherwise drown him.”

Walker’s family hopes that he’ll be able to return home to Southern California soon.  His physicians have indicated that he may be able to return to Corona, California by the end of May, but the football player and his family will continue to contend with the very high emotional and financial costs of his spinal injury.

Spinal Cord Injury Costs

In addition to the extreme emotional and psychological costs of a spinal cord injury, these catastrophic injuries also involve very high financial costs.  The first year of care alone is likely to total approximately $1,000,000.  And those costs will only rise in the months and years to come.

When Walker returns home to Riverside County, his family will need to “replace living and dining room furniture to create more room for a wheelchair.”  In addition, they’ll need to “buy a $70,000 van, a $40,000 wheelchair, and a $12,000 ceiling lift.”

Catastrophic injuries can drastically alter the life of an accident victim and his family.  If you or a loved one has sustained a brain injury or a spinal cord injury, contact an experienced California spinal cord injury attorney today.

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Surgeons

Over the past year, consumer advocates across the state of California have been thinking about the current cap on medical malpractice damages and the possibility for raising that cap.  According to an article in Reuters, just last week advocates in favor of raising the medical malpractice cap indicated that “they had gathered enough signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot.”  The ballot initiative was a response to thus-far ineffective legislation attempts to raise the damages cap.

The ballot initiative is likely to be controversial, and until quite recently it wasn’t clear whether California residents would have to vote on raising the decades-old medical malpractice cap, or whether the state legislature would have taken care of this without a costly election fight.  The cap should have been raised, and the Walton Law Firm strongly supports the effort to raise it.

For San Diego residents who have sustained injuries because of medical negligence, the outcome of the ballot initiative will be very important.  In the meantime, if you have suffered a personal injury due to medical malpractice, it’s important to seek advice from an experienced San Diego medical malpractice lawyer.  At the Walton Law Firm, we’re paying close attention to the ballot initiative, and we can talk with you about your case today.

Recap: California Medical Malpractice Damages Cap

As you might recall, California currently has a cap at $250,000 for damages connected to pain and suffering.  In other words, a jury cannot award more than that amount for pain and suffering sustained because of medical malpractice.  Many Californians don’t believe this cap is sufficient.  In particular, Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica-based organization, has been at the center of the current ballot initiative, which is also backed by trial lawyers, according to the article in Reuters.

What would the ballot initiative achieve?  The advocates at Consumer Watchdog are hoping to raise the damages cap to $1.1 million—a number that “would more than quadruple the amount of money a patient could be awarded for pain and suffering in a malpractice case.”  In short, raising the damages cap is patient-friendly goal.  The backers of the initiative have collected 840,000 signatures, which is far more than the 505,000 signatures required under California law to “get it on the ballot.”

Legislative Compromise Failures Leads to Ballot Initiative

In February, state senate Democratic leader Darrell Steinberg introduced a bill concerning the medical malpractice damages cap that would have “avoided a costly and ugly battle between doctors and lawyers over the ballot initiative,” Reuters reported.  The compromise proposed by Steinberg would have raised the damages limit to $500,000 under California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA).  According to Steinberg, the $500,000 compromise would still be “far below the rate of inflation since MICRA became law 39 years ago.”

While representatives for both lawyers and doctors seemed like they “were close to agreeing on the deal proposed by Steinberg,” it turned out that “talks fell apart,” forcing Consumer Watchdog’s hand with the ballot initiative.  Without a legislative compromise, the medical malpractice cap is going to go to the voters.  Consumer Watchdog is joined by Consumer Attorneys of California.

According to an article in the Washington Post, “the most expensive race of 2014 could be this California ballot measure.”  Indeed, the article described the ballot initiative as one that “pits doctors against trial lawyers in a high-stakes political death match.”

It will be important to follow the ballot initiative closely, as it could have serious implications for medical malpractice lawsuits throughout our state.  If you have sustained because of medical negligence, contact us today to learn more about filing a claim for financial compensation.

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Last week, two teenagers were involved in a serious train accident in Marysville, California, according to an article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune.  The transit accident resulted in the death of one of the teens, Mateus Moore, and serious injuries to the other, Mickayla Friend.  The young high school couple had been on their way to a school dance when they were struck by an oncoming freight train.  Friend remains in critical condition in the Sutter Roseville Medical Center, according to a spokesperson for the hospital.

Train tracks

Train accidents can be very serious and often are life-threatening.  It’s very important to take steps to ensure your own safety, and that of others, when you’re walking near train tracks.  If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a dangerous transit accident, it’s important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.  In some cases, the train conductor or the train company may have been negligent. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to discuss your case.  You may be able to file a wrongful death claim.

Details of the Train Accident

On the Friday night of a Sadie Hawkins dance, Moore and Friend were walking southbound on the train tracks, which, according to KCRA-TV, was the same direction in which a Union Pacific freight train was traveling.  Witnesses at the scene indicated that the train engineer blew the horn and even activated the emergency brakes, “but the two kids didn’t move out of the way in time.”

Based on witness reports, Moore pushed Friend out of the way of the oncoming train, saving her life, according to an article in the New York Daily News.  Sean Stark, one of the witnesses, told the newspaper that “the engineer was on the horn when finally, they both looked back at the same time.”  According to Stark, “they would have both been underneath that train if he didn’t push her out of the way at the last second.”

The accident occurred close to the high school and nearby to a crowded little league park in Marysville.  Witnesses rushed to the scene of the accident to try to save the two teenagers.  Moore died at the scene, and Friend was airlifted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

Authorities currently are investigating the accident, and are “looking into whether the pair was distracted by headphones or something else with the accident occurred.”  A spokesperson for Union Pacific indicated that it “takes more than a mile for a train to stop,” explaining why the emergency brakes couldn’t halt the train before it crashed into the teenagers.

Train and Transit Safety

How can you stay safe around trains and tracks?  According to the Rail Safety Education network, there are some important tips to remember when you’re a passenger on a light rail or commuter train, as well as when you’re walking or driving near train tracks.  These safety tips include:

·      Keeping alert: it’s important to remember that trains can come from both directions of a track, and in many cases, they’re quite quiet.

·      Obeying warning signs: since passerby often don’t hear trains coming, it’s especially important to abide the warning signs and signals, and to be especially careful if you’re wearing headphones or talking on a cell phone.

·      Watching out for the overhang: since trains are wider than train tracks, it’s very dangerous to sit on the edge of a platform at the station.

·      Watching your step: when you get on or off a train, there’s often a gap that can lead to a fall.

·      Only crossing the tracks where it’s legal: directional signs and safety warnings are in place for a reason—if you cross the tracks or walk along the tracks in any place except a designated crossing zone, you could be risking your life.

If your loved one has been injured or killed in an accident or has sustained a catastrophic injury, a San Diego accident lawyer can talk with you today about your case.

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Are San Diego residents at risk of dog bite injuries? More than fifty percent of California households own dogs, according to data collected by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA). And according to the Humane Society, homes across the U.S. have more than 83 million dogs as family pets. While we don’t like to think about the dangers posed by domestic animals, dog bites occur with some frequency in Southern California. In fact, the U.S. Postal Services lists each “ten worst cities for dog attacks” each year, and three major metropolitan areas in California made the list. As such, the AVMA and local veterinary offices are hoping to advocate for dog bite prevention in San Diego, according to a report from San Diego’s local CBS 8 News.

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Have you or a loved one sustained a dog bite injury? Animal attacks can happen without warning, and they can produce life-threatening injuries, particularly when children are involved. If you were bitten by a dog, it’s important to have experienced legal counsel on your side. Contact an experienced San Diego dog bite lawyer at the Walton Law Firm today.

Veterinarians Hope to Prevent Dog Attacks

According to the report in CBS 8 News, the AVMA is “urging action to help prevent dog bites.” How might this work? In short, veterinarians are working to develop a “community-based program” that will “reduce the incidence of bites.” The key to dog bite prevention, according to the AVMA president Roger Mahr, is a combination of training, knowledge, and caution. As Mahr explains, “any dog may bite if it feels threatened, if it’s put into an unfamiliar situation, if it’s out of control, or if it’s scared.”

Important Facts and Safety Tips

The first step to preventing dog bites is knowing the facts about when domestic animals might attack and who remains susceptible to injury. Most important, perhaps, is the fact that children account for more dog bite injuries than any other age group. And according to the AVMA, they’re “far more likely to be severely injured.” When do these dog bites typically occur? They’re difficult to anticipate, since “dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs,” reported the AVMA. After children, senior citizens are the second-largest age bracket affected by dog bites.

According to Dr. Eileen Ouellette, the president of the American Academy of pediatrics, given the fact that children are most frequently the victims of dangerous dog bites, it’s important to teach children about animal safety, but it’s also essential for families in general to make sure they’re taking the proper training and safety precautions around their pets.

In other words, we may be able to prevent dog bites by taking specific steps related to our own family pets. The AVMA provides a list of safety tips for families who are thinking about buying or already own a dog:

  • Pet selection: think carefully about the size and breed of the dog you’re thinking about buying, and consult with your veterinarian about “behavior and suitability” for your children.
  • Socializing your pet: it’s important for puppies to “feel at ease around people and other animals” early on. Socializing with other pets helps your dog become exposed to, and more comfortable within, a number of different settings “under controlled circumstances.”
  • Consider your child’s age: children aged four and younger are typically the ones most affected by dog bites. You might want to wait to buy or adopt a family dog until your child is at least five years old.
  • Training: by training your dog with basic commands, you’ll “build a bond of obedience and trust” between your pet and people.
  • Avoid rough games: dog games like tug-of-war can unnecessarily excite a pet and aren’t advisable, particularly when children are around.
  • Vaccinations: keeping your dog healthy with routine vaccinations can help to ensure that your dog doesn’t contract a disease that can lead it to behave erratically.
  • Neutering/spaying: male dogs that haven’t been neutered are responsible for a high majority of dog attacks.

In addition to safety measures for your own pet, it’s also important to remain alert when you encounter a strange dog. If you or your child sustained serious injuries from a dog bite, contact an experienced injury lawyer at the Walton Law Firm today. You may be able to file a claim for compensation.

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Is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) responsible for 13 deaths that have now been tied to a General Motors product defect? According to a recent article in the New York Times, over the last 11 years, the NHTSA has received more than 260 complaints about General Motors vehicles, including those “that suddenly turned off while being driven.” However, the NHTSA never investigated this possible automobile defect. And according to a story in USA Today, a former NHTSA administrator has encouraged a probe into the NHTSA’s decision, emphasizing that it “failed to carry out the law when it didn’t force GM to fix the problem.” GM has now recalled the vehicles that may pose a serious safety risk to consumers.

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Have you or a loved one been injured by a defective automobile? Over the last decade, thirteen people may have died as a result of the defective product tied to the GM recall. It’s extremely important to speak to an experienced California product liability attorney. You may be able to file a claim for financial compensation.

History of the Recall and Related Consumer Complaints

A New York Times analysis suggests that, since February 2003, the NHTSA “received an average of two complaints a month about potentially dangerous shutdowns, but it repeatedly responded that there was not enough evidence of a problem to warrant a safety investigation.” The most recent of these complaints occurred earlier this month.

Complaints included “detailed frightening scenes in which moving cars suddenly stalled at high speeds, on highways, in the middle of city traffic, and while crossing railroad tracks.” The complaints emphasized the potentially catastrophic nature of the defect and urged the NHTSA to investigate.

According to the New York Times, the NHTSA responded to some of the complaints with a “polite but formulaic letter” indicating that there was insufficient evidence to launch an investigation. But this isn’t the first time that the NHTSA has failed to take action over a potentially catastrophic automobile product defect. For instance, in the late 1990s it failed “to detect a wave of highway rollovers in Ford Explorers with Firestone tires.” That defect ultimately was tied to 271 fatalities.

In 2000, Congress passed a law, known as the Tread Act, to require automakers like GM “to report to the safety agency any claims they received blaming defects for serious injuries or deaths, so the government would not have to rely only on consumer reports.” Over the last ten years, GM has received complaints linking the now-recalled vehicles to “at least 78 deaths” and more than 1,500 injuries.

GM Models at Risk of Shutdown

Which GM models are affected? According to consumer complaints, six different GM models may pose safety risks. Based on these consumer complaints and ample news media surrounding the deaths of 13 drivers over the past decade, GM has recalled these vehicles “because of defective ignition switches that can shut off engines and power systems and disable airbags.” GM mailed out the first recall notices last week to owners.

The vehicles involved in the recall are models from years 2003 to 2007, including: the 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2006-2009 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice, 2006-2007 Saturn Sky, and the 2007 Pontiac G5. According to USA Today, the automaker’s recall notice alerts owners to the defect and informs them that the dealer “will replace ignition switches on those models.”

In its recall, GM has indicated that the ignition defect “may have been responsible for 31 accidents and 13 deaths,” according to the New York Times.

Automobile defects can cause serious injuries and often are linked to roadway fatalities. If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a car accident that might have been caused by an automobile defect, don’t hesitate to contact a product liability lawyer today.

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When we buy products, we expect that they’ll be safe for use, as long as we use them correctly. This is particularly true when we buy items such as car seats for our children. However, a recent recall suggests that the car seat you’ve been using for your young child might not actually be so safe. Earlier this month, Graco, a manufacturer of products for infants and children, has issued a voluntary recall of 3.7 million child car seats, according to an article in CNN News. The company has also been asked to recall an additional 1.8 million.

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Reasons for the Recall

What’s the problem with these car seats? According to the article, there’s a “buckling issue.” In short, the buckles often don’t readily open. The “red release button in the center of the harness can become difficult to unlatch,” or it “can become stuck,” according to the NHTSA. And this could pose a serious problem for a parent who needs to take her child out of the car seat quickly in case of a serious emergency, such as an accident or a fire.

The problem recently came to the attention of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which began an investigation into complaints about the car seat buckles. Based on the NHTSA’s investigation, Graco has agreed to recall 11 out of 18 seat models. These models include convertible, harnessed booster seats, but they don’t include infant car seats. Specifically, Graco described the recall as affecting “harness buckles used on all toddler convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats manufactured from 2009 to July 2013.”
Graco has contested the NHTSA’s request that it recall 1.8 million more seats, which would include infant seat models. In response, the NHTSA has emphasized that its investigation will remain open until it has thoroughly reviewed the safety issues connected to the remaining 7 seat models.

But even at 3.7 million, this recent recall represents the “fourth biggest ever for car seats,” according to the NHTSA. If the remaining 1.8 million are recalled, “it would be the biggest,” the federal agency indicated.

What’s Causing the Buckle Problem?

According to Graco, “food and dried liquids can make some harness buckles progressively more difficult to open over time or become stuck in the latched position.” Yet the NHTSA doesn’t think this is a sufficient, since it’s an issue that the product makers should have been able to anticipate.

Graco emphasizes that the buckle problem “does not, in any way, affect the performance of the car seat or the effectiveness of the buckle to restrain a child.” However, the NHTSA has encouraged all parents and caregivers using these seats to “consider acquiring an alternative car seat for transporting children until their Graco seat is fixed.”

What Should I Do if I Have a Recalled Seat?

First, it’s important to know which models have been recalled. The toddler car seat models involved in the recall include: the Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, My Ride 70, Size4Me 70, My Size 70, Head Wise 70, and Smart Seat. Graco has not yet recalled its potentially affected infant seats, but the NHTSA has intimated that the following models might also be affected by the buckle problem: Snugride, Snugride 30, Snugride 32, Infant Safe Seat-Step 1, Snugride 35, Tuetonia 35, and Snugride Click Connect 40.

Graco is offering new harness buckles to customers affected by the toddler seat recall free of charge. If you currently own one of the recalled toddler seats, you can call Graco or visit their website to obtain a replacement. If you’re currently using one of the infant seats that Graco hasn’t yet recalled, you might want to think about an alternative.

When a defective product injures your child, you deserve to seek compensation by filing a product liability claim. Child injuries can be especially traumatic, and the experienced San Diego product liability lawyers at the Walton Law Firm can discuss your case with you today.

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A recent study more than forty years in the making indicated that “people who sustain traumatic brain injuries may be three times more likely to die young,” reported CBS News. According to the study, which was published in JAMA Psychiatry, younger people who sustain severe brain traumas are “more likely to die prematurely.” The study termed premature deaths as those occurring before the age of 56. And that risk grows for people who were diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, in addition to the traumatic brain injury (TBI).

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TBIs are very serious injuries, and contemporary research on the brain suggests that repeated concussions and other head traumas have severe consequences. Have you sustained a traumatic brain injury? You may be eligible to seek financial compensation. An aggressive San Diego brain injury lawyer can discuss your claim with you today.

Details of the Brain Injury Study

Researchers tracked a total of 218,300 patients who received either inpatient or outpatient care in Sweden for a traumatic brain injury between the years 1969 and 2009. All of the participants in the study were born after 1954. The first thing the researchers tracked was “death rates for patients who passed at least six months after sustaining the TBI,” and then they compared those figures with the general population, as well as the lifespan of the patient’s siblings. Siblings who weren’t affected by a TBI functioned as a control for “genetic factors” that could play a role in the rate of premature death.

But could all of these deaths really have been linked to the earlier TBI sustained by the patient? The researchers took into account the way in which the patient died and indicated whether the cause of death had been suicide, and accident/injury, or an intentional assault. The researchers also took particular note of the patient’s sex, the age at which they died, the severity of the brain injury, the time to diagnosis (after sustaining the injury), and schedules of follow-up treatment.

What can the statistics tell us? In short, the results of the study make clear that sustaining a TBI places you at greater risk for committing suicide, becoming the victim of an assault, and/or suffering a fatal injury. In general, only about .2 percent of people who have never sustained a traumatic brain injury die prematurely. However, according to the data in the study, TBI patients are three times more likely to die young. The researchers also emphasize that “those who had a TBI and a previous psychiatric disorder diagnosis had a 20 times higher rate of early death.”

Indeed, compared with their siblings, TBI patients were 2.6 times more likely to suffer a premature death. The lead author of the study, Dr. Seena Fazel, described these results as “striking,” as they emphasize just how big a role TBIs and subsequent psychiatric issues can play in premature deaths.

What Can We Do to Prevent TBI-Related Premature Deaths?

According to Dr. Fazel, who conducts research at Oxford University’s department of psychiatry, it’s important for policymakers to think about changing assessment guidelines when it comes to TBIs. Fazel explained that “current guidelines do not recommend assessments of mental health or suicide risk in TBI patients, instead of focusing on short-term survival.” In other words, according to Fazel, “it may make more sense to treat some TBI patients as suffering from a chronic problem requiring longer term management.”

In addition, those treating TBI patients should carefully monitor them for “signs of depression, substance abuse and other psychiatric disorders” related to the traumatic brain injury. Have you or a loved one recently sustained a brain trauma? Contact an experienced California injury lawyer at the Walton Law Firm today.

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In recent months, San Diego has seen a number of fatal hit-and-run injuries and serious pedestrian accidents. Most notably, authorities recently asked for help in identifying a truck involved in an Escondido hit-and-run, while a San Diego mother died after being struck by a truck while walking her daughter to school. Is there a way to help curb these hazards in Southern California? According to a recent article from NBC San Diego, the city’s Crime Stoppers group is “looking for ways to help put an end to a recent rash of deaths stemming from hit and run accidents.”

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Based on the report, San Diego has seen a “recent spike in hit and runs,” and it led Crime Stoppers to think about how it can provide financial incentives to catch drivers who flee from the scene of an accident. The organization emphasized that it wants to “help create an incentive that would shake loose more information.” In short, Crime Stoppers believes that the solution may involve “big money for tipsters” who can provide valuable information about hit-and-run accidents.

Have you lost a loved one in a dangerous pedestrian accident? Have you suffered the consequences of a hit-and-run accident? You may be able to file a claim for compensation. At the Walton Law Firm, we know that pedestrian accidents are a serious issue in Southern California, and we can talk to you about your case today.

Recent Hit-and-Run Incidents in Southern California

According to NBC San Diego, the unfortunate hit-and-run trend that seems to be developing in Southern California began on January 31st, when a motorcyclist, Seamus O’Bryan, died after being struck by a white sedan that fled the scene of the crash. Only three days later, a white box truck struck and killed Benjamin Ramirez, 23, as he was walking home from work in Escondido. According to reports, the truck “slowed then left the scene.” Less than one week later, Alonso Flores Pacheco, 81, died while crossing the street in San Ysidro. His son witnessed the accident and noted that the car “just kept going.”

Since hit-and-run accidents often leave victims with severe and sometimes fatal accidents, it can be difficult to catch the drivers who fail to stop. According to Crime Stoppers Officer Jim Johnson, the primary problem with solving hit-and-run crashes is limited information about the driver. Without a clear idea of who caused the accident, solving these “frequent crimes” can be quite a challenge.

Crime Stoppers Hopes to Increase Cash Rewards

Since hit-and-run accidents nearly always rely on witnesses in order to be solved, Crime Stoppers believes it may be able to entice more bystanders to provide information about the drivers who perpetrate these crimes. Johnson told NBC San Diego that Crime Stoppers is operating under the assumption that, if a witness isn’t “willing to call for $1,000, maybe they’ll call for $10,000.” As of right now, the highest reward amount for tips concerning felony hit-and-run cases is $1,000. Higher amounts, like the $10,000 rewards offered for tips in arson cases, are considered “restricted” rewards. Johnson explained that “restricted rewards money is earmarked . . . specifically for a type of case or type of crime.”

Yet, NBC San Diego emphasized, “eyewitnesses are key to solving hit and run crimes.” Indeed, without eyewitnesses, “the trail goes cold quickly.” Crime Stoppers is seeking out private donors to add to the reward amount for tips related to hit-and-run accidents, and they’ll also be asking local governments “to fund a hit and run restricted rewards program in San Diego.”

Have you or a loved one sustained injuries in a car accident? Contact an experienced California accident lawyer today to learn more about filing a lawsuit.

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Borrego Springs and San Diego Motorcycle Crashes

Last Friday, a Ranchita man was involved in a dangerous one-vehicle motorcycle accident when he lost control of his bike near Palm Canyon Drive, according to an article in U-T San Diego. The driver is 62 years old. How did the accident happen? Reports indicate that he had been driving his Harley Davidson motorcycle on Montezuma Valley Road when he hit a curve, which caused him to lose control of his bike. According to the newspaper, he was taken to a hospital in Palm Desert by a medical transport helicopter.

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A California Highway Patrol Officer at the scene explained that the victim’s motorcycle “veered across both lanes and overturned.” The motorcyclist is listed as having sustained “major injuries.”

This recent motorcycle accident isn’t the only one to make news in Southern California. Indeed, just last month, a 21-year-old motorcyclist died in a crash on the I-805, according to a report from NBC San Diego. According to the article, the accident occurred during the evening commute, just before 4 p.m. California Highway Patrol officers indicated that the driver had been moving “at a high speed” when he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into a tow truck.

Officials at the scene told NBC San Diego that the young motorcyclist was “ejected from his bike and into the path of the oncoming tow truck,” which couldn’t avoid striking him. Reports indicated that the motorcyclist died at the scene of the crash. The county medical examiner later confirmed that the victim had been an active-duty sailor who was stationed aboard a ship docked in the San Diego area.

Have you or a loved one been injured in a serious motorcycle accident? You may be eligible to seek financial compensation for your injuries. These crashes are often fatal, and it’s important to have an experienced California motorcycle accident lawyer on your side.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Motorcycle fatalities unfortunately occur with some frequency in California. In fact, according to data from the California Office of Traffic Safety, the number of fatal crashes increased by 175 percent between 1998 and 2008. These numbers are particularly concerning since California actually reduced its number of motorcycle fatalities and severe injuries during the previous decade. What’s going on?

Statistics suggest that age might be a predictor of serious motorcycle accidents. According to the California Highway Patrol, “several groups of riders are over represented, compared to their presence within the motorcycle riding population.” For instance, riders aged 15-24 only represent 10 percent of all motorcycle riders, yet riders in this age group account for 22-26 percent of all motorcycle fatalities. Another predictor is gender: male riders account for 90 percent of all fatalities in California.

Motorcycle safety is very important in our state. There’s already a California Motorcyclist Safety Program in place that seeks to properly train motorcycle riders. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide important safety tips to stay safe while you’re on your bike:

  • Wear a DOT-approved helmet;
  • Never drive your motorcycle while you’re under the influence;
  • Don’t let your friends ride if they’ve been drinking;
  • Always wear protective clothing;
  • Don’t tailgate;
  • Ride at a safe speed;
  • Be especially cautious on rough or slippery surfaces.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash, don’t hesitate to speak to an experienced injury lawyer. Contact a San Diego motorcycle accident attorney at the Walton Law Firm today to discuss your case.

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Shifts in Spinal Cord Injury Demographic

A new study conducted at Johns Hopkins University suggests that spinal cord injury incidents are on the rise in America, and there’s a new culprit, according to an article in the Insurance Journal. While automobile accidents used to be the primary source of dangerous spinal cord injuries, falls have caused more of these injuries in the past several years. And more significantly, perhaps, the new Johns Hopkins study, published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, suggests that older adults are at greater risk for spinal cord injuries than Americans in any other age group. As such, we may be able to significantly reduce the risk of spinal cord injuries if we’re able to “prevent falls in the elderly.”

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Have you or a loved one sustained a severe spinal cord injury? You may be eligible to seek financial compensation. These injuries can occur in many different kinds of accidents, including but not limited to car crashes, slips and falls, and contact sports. The California injury lawyers at the Walton Law Firm can discuss your claim with you today.

Details of the Johns Hopkins Study

In the recent study, Johns Hopkins researchers used a sample of more than 43,000 adults who were treated for spinal cord injuries in emergency-room settings during a two-year period—between the years of 2007 and 2009. What did the study find?

  • The incidence of spinal cord injuries among people aged 18 to 64 remained relatively steady across the years covered in the study, with numbers ranging from 29.9 per million to 52.3 per million each year.
  • The incidence of spinal cord injuries among people aged 65 and older rose dramatically, from 79.4 per million in 2007 to 87.7 per million in 2009.

As you can see, the rates of spinal cord injury were already higher among the older populations, and those figures only appear to be increasing. Indeed, the average of adults suffering from a spinal cord injury was 41 years old back in 2000. Now, based on the statistics from the recent study, the average age is 51.

According to Shalini Selvarajah, a postdoctoral surgical research fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explained the impact of the study: “We have demonstrated how costly traumatic spinal cord injury is, and how lethal and disabling it can be among older people.” Referring to the high rate of spinal cord injuries among the elderly, Selvarajah emphasized that “it’s an area that is ripe for prevention.”

Why have falls become the leading cause of spinal cord injuries? Researchers can’t be absolutely sure, but many believe it’s because of the “general aging of the population, the more active lifestyles of many Americans over 65, and airbags and seatbelt laws that allow drivers and passengers to survive crashes.” In other words, safety measures have reduced the number of spinal cord injuries related to automobile accidents, while the growing number of old adults in America has led to a rise in fall-related spinal cord injuries.

The costs of these injuries are very high. In addition to the personal “costs” associated with disability and paralysis, medical bills related to spinal cord injuries have also been on the rise. According to the Johns Hopkins Study, “emergency room charges alone for traumatic spinal cord injury patients totaled $1.6 billion” in 2009. And the California Workers’ Compensation Institute recently reported that spinal cord injuries, along with traumatic brain injury, have cost more than $500 million over the course of the last 10 years.

If you sustained a spinal cord injury during an accident, you deserve to be compensated. Contact an experienced San Diego spinal cord injury attorney today to learn more about filing a claim.

Photo Credit: Polygon Medical Animation via Compfight cc

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