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Traumatic Brain Injuries and California Sports

Football Tackle

Brain injuries and American football have, unfortunately, seemed to go hand in hand in recent years.  Despite the popularity of contact sports, commentators have suggested that contact sports may have to be scaled back in the coming years due to the high risk of serious head trauma.  Research suggests that even a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) like a concussion can have life-threatening consequences.  Indeed, a number of professional football players have been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a dangerous degenerative brain condition caused by multiple concussions, while a number of high school athletes have sustained severe brain injuries on the field.

What’s California doing to prevent serious head injuries?  According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law a bill that is designed to protect student athletes from serious TBIs.  Specifically, it “prohibits football teams at middle and high schools from holding full-contact practices that exceed 90 minutes a day,” while it also “limits the number of full-contact practices during the season to two per week.”  In addition, it prohibits coaches from holding any contact practices at any point during the off-season.

The restrictions in the new law will take effect on January 1, 2015.  They’re designed, the article reported, “to help reduce concussions and other serious brain injuries.”

History of the Law and Teen Sports Injuries

How did the law come about?  Assemblyman Ken Cooley introduced the bill, AB 2127, emphasizing that its “practice guidelines will reassure parents that their kids can learn football safely through three hours of full-contact practice.”  He explained that the prohibitions weren’t intended to prevent teenage athletes from playing football.  Rather, he made clear, the new law would “maximize conditioning and skill development while minimizing concussion risk.”

The bill received support from the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), an organization in charge of high school sports in California.  In addition to the new law, the CIF also put a new rule into effect that will begin in schools this fall.  The rule prohibits high school coaches in our state from spending more than 18 hours each week on practices.  John Aguirre, the commissioner of the Los Angeles City Section and a former football coach, emphasized that “everybody is going to have to educate themselves and transition within the limitations.”

As you might imagine, a number of high school football coaches aren’t very happy about the new law and the CIF rule.  According to a coach at Los Angeles Roosevelt High School, football teams “need to have full contact” in the off-season.  Without it, he argues, coaches won’t be able to “figure out who can play.”

Are the new prohibitions necessary to prevent head injuries?  Do we really need these restrictions when we’re just talking about high school athletes?  In short, the answer is yes.  Based on data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4 million high schoolers sustain brain injuries every year, and many of those serious injuries occur during practices for popular contact sports like football.

If your child sustained a concussion or other severe brain injury while playing high school sports, it’s very important to talk to an experienced San Diego brain injury attorney.  You may be able to seek compensation.  Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.

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What should you look for when deciding on a California drug rehabilitation facility?  In many cases, consumers believe the higher the price of the facility, the better the care.  However, many high-end drug rehabilitation facilities in Southern California have victimized patients, and a number of them sustained serious and fatal personal injuries.  Should you look, instead, to see whether a facility has been accredited?  How about facilities that have been licensed and/or certified by the state?

Needles & Therapy

A lot of terms exist to suggest that a facility provides high quality care.  Yet it’s important to remember that neither the price tag associated with a facility, nor its accreditation or certification status, can promise a safe environment for a loved one battling addiction.

Drug Rehab Facility Safety in California

In California, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has “sole authority to license facilities providing 24-hour residential nonmedical services to eligible adults who are recovering from problems related to alcohol or other drug misuse or abuse.”  When must a facility be licensed by the state of California?  If the facility provides one of the following services, then it’s required to be licensed by DHCS:

  •      Detoxification;
  •      Group sessions;
  •      Individual sessions;
  •      Educational sessions;
  •      Alcoholism or drug abuse recover; or
  •      Alcoholism or drug abuse treatment planning.

Certification is different from being licensed.  A number of facilities that are licensed are also certified.  But according to the DHCS website, “certification by DHCS identifies those facilities which exceed minimum levels of service quality and are in substantial compliance with State program standards, specifically the Alcohol and/or Other Drug Certification Standards.”

In other words, a facility that’s both licensed and certified is likely to have met higher standards than other facilities.  But those terms alone can’t always promise quality care.  And how do they compare to accredited facilities?

Accreditation Standards for Drug Rehab Facilities

According to a recent article in Psych Central, accreditation isn’t synonymous with quality treatment.  Why not?  First thing’s first: not all accreditation is equal.  In fact, many accredited facilities haven’t been licensed by the state to provide care for people seeking to overcome alcohol or drug addiction.  Instead, many facilities have been accredited by third parties.  And some of these third-party accreditors aren’t as thorough as others.

In most cases, facilities seek accreditation either from CARF (the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) or The Joint Commission.  Generally speaking, “facilities that meet CARF or Joint Commission standards have demonstrated their commitment to being among the best drug rehab facilities in the world.”  And in some states, accreditation by one of these facilities can go toward fulfillment of certain licensing requirements.

Yet we need to remember that simply being licensed or accredited doesn’t ensure excellent care.  Indeed, patients sustain injuries and endure abuse even at high-end facilities that have been licensed in California or accredited by CRF.  According to the article, “several correlations exist between accreditation and quality care, but the association isn’t uniform across all accredited programs.”

Accreditation is one of the “best indicators of quality that we have,” according to Dr. David Sack, who is board certified in psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, and addiction medicine.  However, rather than simply rely on a facility’s price tag, its certification status, or its accreditation status, it’s essential that you “do your homework.”

If you or a loved one sustained injuries due to abuse or neglect in a California drug rehab facility, the Walton Law Firm can help.  Even high-end facilities can be held accountable for abuse, and we can discuss your options with you today.  Contact a San Diego personal injury lawyer to learn more.

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When we hear about high-end drug rehabilitation facilities, many of us assume that paying high prices for treatment means a higher quality of care.  However, even the most expensive, high-end facilities can pose dangers for our loved ones when they’re in need of proper treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.  To be sure, abuse and preventable injuries occur with surprising frequency at high-end drug rehab centers.


Rehab Facilities with a History of Abuse

Are high-end drug rehabilitation facilities really places where patient safety is a serious issue?  Unfortunately, abuse can occur anywhere, and patient injuries and deaths can result.  In some cases, employees at these kinds of facilities commit sexual abuse and violence against patients.  In other cases, there’s just a poor quality of care, and preventable injuries happen.

For example, the One80 Center in Los Angeles, an “A-list Hollywood rehab,” according to the Los Angeles Times, recently was exposed as a dangerous rehabilitation facility in California.  Over the last few years, two patients died after sustaining fatal injuries in a drowning accident and an Oxycontin overdose.  According to a story about those deaths that appeared in the Hollywood Reporter, the rehabilitation facility is a “luxury addiction treatment provider” that houses some of its services in a “$2.9 million Cape Cod-style house on lower Sunset Plaza Drive.”

The first victim, a 52-year-old woman seeking treatment at the facility, Jean Galletta, threatened to “go upstairs, take a bath, and drown myself.”  The caretakers at the One80 facility didn’t believe her.  Moments later, staff members found the victim in her bathtub.  They “placed a bag valve mask over her face and furiously worked an automatic external defibrillator” in an “unsuccessful attempt to revive her.”  At her time of death, Galletta’s blood alcohol content was listed at 0.24, which is “enough to lose consciousness.”  Following her death, many clients and patient advocates suspected that Galletta’s death had been preventable, as it resulted from improper care at One80.

Less than a year prior, One80 lost another client under questionable circumstances.  In August 2011, a 22-year-old overdosed on Oxycontin.  The victim, Andrew Witkoff, had been the son of a “Manhattan real estate titan.”  He smuggled the drugs into his bedroom, a “sober-living sanctum.”  Similar to Galletta’s death, commentators believe Witkoff’s death was the result of improper care at the rehabilitation facility.

High-End Care Hindering Recovery?

According to the story in the Hollywood Reporter, clients come to high-end rehabilitation facilities when they’re at their most vulnerable—they’re in “perilous physical and mental health.”  And because these facilities often give “special privileges” to the wealthiest of Americans in need of drug or alcohol rehabilitation, those clients often don’t end up getting the level of care they actually need.

For clients like Witkoff and Galletta, facilities such as the One80 can charge about $90,000 per month for treatment.  But that price doesn’t mean that patients are receiving proper care.  For example, staff members at some of these high-end facilities have come forward shedding light on realities at the facilities.  They’ve emphasized that many clients actually need psychiatric treatment at specialized facilities, yet the owners of luxury rehabilitation clinics such as One80 opt to encourage the expensive monthly payments from these clients instead.

“When you have something extreme” in addition to a drug or alcohol addiction, one staff member asserted, such as “eating disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar with psychotic features—clients need true psychiatric care to get better with their addiction.”  Without such care, staff members warn, “you’re setting people up for failure.”

Has your loved one sustained injuries at a high-end drug rehabilitation facility?  It’s important to discuss your case with an experienced San Diego personal injury attorney.  Whether your serious injuries resulted from poor care or an intentional act, we can help you to seek compensation.  Contact us today to learn more.

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Consumers May Be ‘Numb’ to Product Recalls, Says Bloomberg

Do product recalls actually affect sales, or have many California residents become “numb” to news about defective products that may cause harm?  According to a recent report from Bloomberg, the recent General Motors (GM) recall hasn’t yet affected sales the way many of us might assume.  Indeed, according to the story, GM’s sales have been completely “unfazed” by the recalls.  So if a recall in and of itself won’t stop consumers from purchasing dangerous products or from patronizing a company that has sold a defective item, how do consumers make decisions to avoid purchases of potentially harmful products?


According to the article, there are five different factors that influence whether a product recall will affect sales.  These factors can make a difference in how consumers view the recall and when it will affect their buying habits:

  •      1) Awareness of the recall;
  •      2) Severity of the risk that’s posed by the product;
  •      3) Proximity of the risk to the product that’s currently being sold;
  •      4) How the manufacturer or distributor handles the recall; and
  •      5) Reputation of the manufacturer or distributor after the recall.

Have you been injured by a defective product?  It’s very important to speak to an experienced San Diego product liability lawyer.  You may be eligible to seek financial compensation for your injuries.

Weighing the Severity of the Risk

Commentators point out that “as many as 74 deaths may be associated with these recalls” from GM, but the “impact has not yet been fully seen.”  Usually, the severity of the risk—factor #2—will have the greatest impact.  For example, consider the recent Toyota or Tylenol recalls in addition to those at GM.  When a product can put a consumer’s life at risk, the company that’s selling the defective product usually will see a drop in sales.  But the GM recall isn’t producing an immediate effect.

As a quick reminder, the GM recall involves a faulty ignition switch that reportedly has resulted in serious and even fatal injuries.  However, consumers continue to buy GM products.  What’s going on?  With the GM recall, researchers predict that factor #3 is at work.  In other words, the recalled vehicles aren’t on the market, and consumers are buying different GM models.

It takes longer than we might think for a recall to affect the reputation of a product manufacturer.  For example, with the Lululemon recall, the company didn’t experience a drop in sales until 6 to 9 months after it recalled.  While that recall didn’t cause bodily harm to consumers, reporters on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers” are comparing the rate at which Lululemon’s reputation sustained damage (and thus the decrease in product sales) to GM’s reputation in connection with dangerous automobile defects.

In short, there’s a delayed “reputation impact” on sales.  And even when GM does begin to see a relationship between customer sales and its recall of the dangerous automobile parts, the company likely will be able to offer incentives, discounts, or rebates to keep customers coming.

Contact a San Diego Product Defect Attorney

Have you been injured by a defective product?  Has a loved one sustained fatal injuries from a dangerous automobile part or a bad drug?  You may be able to file a lawsuit. Contact a California personal injury lawyer at the Walton Law Firm today to discuss your case.

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Are certain athletes at greater risk of a debilitating brain injury than others?  According to an article in Women’s Health, female and younger athletes may “take longer to recover from concussions.”  The article cited a new study conducted by researchers in Michigan State University’s Department of Kinesiology.  How can this information help victims of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)?  In short, the findings suggest that treatment options should be different based on the age and sex of the victim, and physicians should take these factors into account when treating patients with head trauma.

Girl in Hospital Bed

Age and Sex Impact Recovery: Details of the Study

According to Tracey Covassin, the lead researcher on the study, “females performed worse than males on visual memory tests” after sustaining a TBI, and females also “reported more symptoms postconcussion.”  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that concussions are a form of mild traumatic brain injury, and they’re typically characterized by a “bump, blow, or jolt to the head.”  Typically, concussions aren’t life-threatening injuries, but they can have serious and debilitating effects nonetheless.

While women had more difficulty with visual memory tasks and had more pronounced symptoms than males after sustaining concussions, high school athletes involved in the study had even more problems.  In relation to college athletes who sustained mild TBIs, athletes at high school age performed worse on “verbal and visual memory tests.”  In addition, many of those high school athletes reported that they were still “impaired up to two weeks after their injuries.”

Covassin, who is a certified athletic trainer at the university, explained that researchers previously have suggested that female and younger athletes can take longer to recover after they sustain a concussion, but her team’s research makes clear that age and sex also play a role in a TBI victim’s cognitive abilities.

Promoting Awareness About Women and Sports-Related Concussions

While the study presents compelling information about the rate and severity of concussions among high school athletes and female athletes, it also begs for more awareness measures when it comes to sports-related head trauma.  In particular, Covassin argues that “simple education” is largely lacking when it comes to women and sports.  Discussing her study, she emphasized that “we need to raise awareness that . . . female athletes do get concussions.”  For, as she explains, “too often, when we speak with parents and coaches, they overlook the fact that in comparable sports, females are concussed more than males.”

Female athletes in high school may be at particularly high risk of serious post-concussion injury.  If young women aren’t closely assessed for concussions, they may not fully recover after sustaining a TBI.  These women can be at risk of second-impact syndrome, a term that refers to a situation where a second concussion can produce particularly severe symptoms and debilitating brain damage.

Brain injuries are all too common among athletes who participate in contact sports, but it’s important to remember that a serious head trauma can result from many different kinds of accidents.  If you have a loved one who recently suffered a TBI, you should talk to an experienced San Diego brain injury lawyer about your case.  At the Walton Law Firm, we are committed to helping Southern Californians who have sustained serious brain injuries.

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Most recent news about the NFL and professional football has concerned the prevalence of traumatic brain injury among those who play contact sports.  However, a recent article in the Insurance Journal reported that a San Diego team doctor may be liable for medical malpractice.  What’s the link between medical malpractice and football?  In short, a number of players have come forward with allegations concerning drug abuse.


Narcotics Prescriptions and Medical Negligence in Football?

Back in May, approximately 500 former NFL players filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in northern California alleging that physicians affiliated with the pro sports league “illegally dispensed powerful narcotics and other drugs to keep players on the field without regard for their long-term health.” The initial complaint was amended shortly after its original filing date to add another 250 players to the lawsuit. Now, 750 plaintiffs are involved in the case against the NFL.

Only a handful of the players are identified by name, however, including Marcellus Wiley, who played for Buffalo, Dallas, Jacksonville, and San Diego during his time in the league. Some of the other named players include Richard Dent and Jim McMahon. McMahon, as many remember, was also involved in the concussion class-action case that was settled for $756 million last year. The players involved in the current claim are seeking class-action certification.

What are the details of the new lawsuit? First, it spans a number of decades, covering the years between 1968 and 2008. During that forty-year period, the former players argue that “team physicians and trainers across the NFL routinely—and often illegally—provided powerful narcotics and other controlled substances on game days to mask the pain.”

Some of the prescribed painkillers include Percodan, Percocet, and Vicodin. But more than just painkillers are involved. The former players also contend that powerful anti-inflammatories like Toradol, and sleep aids like Ambien, were “handed out like candy at Halloween” and “often combined in cocktails,” according to the article in the Insurance Journal. Indeed, the lead attorney in the lawsuit indicated that some of the teams that have been implicated even “filled out prescriptions in players’ names without their knowledge or consent.”

Long-Term Health Damage from San Diego Physician’s Decisions

The alleged effects of narcotic use in the NFL have included long-term health damage, according to the players involved in the lawsuit. They’ve reported a “range of debilitating effects,” which include chronic muscle pain, bone ailments, permanent nerve damage, and organ damage as a result of addiction to some of the drugs named.

And according to Wiley, who suffered partial renal failure earlier this year, the then-San Diego team doctor David Chao regularly supplied him with painkiller injections over an entire season. Chao allegedly gave Wiley the “multiple injections” to help him cope with what he had diagnosed as a “severe groin sprain.” However, an independent physician diagnosed Wiley with “a torn abdominal wall” that actually “required surgery.” The Medical Board of California has since placed Chao on probation, and his license was revoked. And back in 2012, a jury found Chao liable for another patient’s injuries.

The players will need to prove a “cause and effect” relationship between the painkillers and their current injuries. Additionally, they’ll need to show that their health problems are more pronounced than those of other people their age who haven’t been exposed to the same levels of painkiller medications.

Medical malpractice is a serious issue. Indeed, right now many patient advocates in California are working to raise the cap on the damages available to medical malpractice victims in our state. If you have sustained injuries because of medical negligence, you should seek legal counsel. Contact a San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can help with your case.

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Summer is here, but how safe are some of the most popular warm-weather activities in Southern California?  According to a recent article in ABC News, a San Diego toddler nearly died during a drowning accident at a pool party.  According to the California Department of Developmental Services, drowning is “a leading cause of injury-related deaths among children under the age of five” in our state, and near-drowning accidents frequently result in permanent disabilities.  How can you keep your children safe when swimming is involved?  It’s important to know about water safety, but it’s also essential to know the signs of secondary drowning.

Swimming Pool

Details of the Recent Drowning Accident

When Lindsay Kujawa took her son Ronin to an outdoor pool party and turned her back “for maybe five seconds,” the toddler fell into the water, according to ABC News and Good Morning America.  Kujawa explained that she immediately pulled Ronin out of the water “after about 20 seconds,” and the young boy “seemed unscathed.”  Kujawa specifically emphasized that her son hadn’t turned blue and didn’t seem to be choking on water.  As a result, she assumed he was just fine and that the tumble into the pool hadn’t caused any injuries.

However, when Ronin fell into the water, some of the fluid got into his lungs, which “prevented the tiny air sacs from moving oxygen into the bloodstream.”  Shortly thereafter, the toddler “was having difficulty breathing.”  Without medical attention, in fact, “his heart could have stopped.”  Ronin suffered from secondary drowning.

While secondary drowning isn’t especially common, according to Dr. Paul Pepe, who is chair of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, “it does occur.”  Indeed, Pepe emphasized that “even children who are resuscitated and rushed to the emergency room after falling in a pool can develop pulmonary edema in the first three or four hours after taking in water.”  As a result, if your child sustains a fall into a pool and potentially takes in water, you should visit an emergency room, particularly if you notice any breathing problems, coughing, or general lethargy.

Secondary Drowning and Child Injuries

The recent drowning accident in San Diego involved secondary drowning.  What exactly is secondary drowning?  According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), secondary drowning, or “near-drowning,” is a syndrome that occurs after immersion in water.  In medical terms, it’s a “deterioration of pulmonary function” that happens after a child has been immersed in a pool, for example.

Why is it so dangerous?  For one, it happens after most parents assume their kids are in the clear. An article released by the NIH emphasizes that symptoms of secondary drowning are “usually rapid,” but they’re often “characterized by a latent period of one to 48 hours of relative respiratory well-being.” In other words, a child can have no symptoms of secondary drowning immediately after being immersed in water, but life-threatening symptoms can appear up to 48 hours after the incident.

Drowning accidents happen far too often in the San Diego area, and victims often sustain serious and life-threatening injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a drowning accident, you may be able to seek compensation for those injuries. An experienced California drowning accident lawyer can examine the details of your case today.

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Earlier this year, General Motors (GM) recalled nearly 3 million automobiles due to a very dangerous defective ignition switch.  The automaker has been in the news since early 2014, as new reports about fatal injuries continue to surface.  According to a recent article from NPR, more product recalls are on the way.  And indeed, based on a related story in Forbes, those recalls may continue through summer 2014.

Key in Ignition

The GM Recall Report

As a brief reminder, the GM recall affected a number of different models, and it concerned a faulty ignition switch.  The models affected include:

  •      Chevrolet: Cobalts from 2005-2010, and HHR models from 2006-2011
  •      Pontiac: G5 models from 2007-2010, and Solstice models from 2006-2010
  •      Saturn: Ion models from 2003-2007, and Sky models from 2007-2010

No current-year models have been affected by the recall, but thousands of the affected vehicles remained on the roads in early 2014.  Because of the defective ignition switch, at least 13 people sustained fatal injuries, and commentators have indicated that “possibly more” victims will be identified in the coming months.

General Motors recently completed a report for federal regulators “outlining the problems that led to its ignition switch recall crisis,” according to Forbes.  With regard to the report, chief executive Mary Barra emphasized that GM’s board members “got no specific information about the defects that have led GM to recall 2.6 million Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Saturn vehicles.”  The report suggests that “lower-ranking employees either made decisions or did nothing without letting the company’s most senior leaders know.”  Specifically, Barra said, “individuals failed to disclose critical pieces of information that could have fundamentally changed the lives of those impacted by a faulty ignition switch.”

New Recalls

Yet just as GM is completing its investigation into the ignition switch issue, the automaker issued additional recalls for more than 100,000 automobiles, according to NPR.  Nearly all of these vehicles were located in the U.S.  This recent news brings GM’s total for 2014 to 34 recalls—a shockingly high number of recalls that have affected approximately 14,000 cars.

Which vehicles are involved in the latest recall?  More than 57,000 heavy-duty Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickup trucks have been implicated, along with Chevy Tahoe, Chevy Suburban, and GMC Yukon sport utility vehicles.  Unlike the earlier recalls, however, the new ones affect vehicle models from 2014 and 2015.  In other words, automobiles that currently are on the market have been implicated.

What’s the defect with these pickup trucks and SUVs?  According to GM, the truck may be “out of compliance with motor vehicle safety standards covering theft protection, rollaway protection, and occupant crash protection.”  The recall concerns the base radio.  The base radio may have a defect that can result in vehicle occupants failing to receive audible warnings about seat belts and the ignition.

In addition to the pickup trucks and SUVs, the new recall also concerns more than 30,000 Buick Verano, Chevy Camaro, Chevy Cruze, and Chevy Sonic cars.  A defect in these vehicles may prevent the airbags from deploying properly.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective automobile, it’s very important to contact an experienced San Diego product defect lawyer.  At the Walton Law Firm, we have years of experience helping residents of Southern California seek compensation for personal injuries related to dangerous products.  Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

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Hit and Run Data in San Diego County

San Diego County has been experiencing several years of “the deadly hit and run,” according to a recent article in Voice of San Diego.  Indeed, between the years of 2008 and 2012, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reports that more than 17,000 hit-and-run accidents occurred across the county.  In those accidents, nearly 7,000 victims sustained serious injuries and nearly 60 suffered fatal injuries.

TearsWhat’s happening in San Diego County when it comes to deadly car accidents?  Officer Mark McCullough indicated that the sheer number of hit-and-run accidents hasn’t climbed dramatically in the last five years, but the egregiousness of the cases has grown.  For example, in 2014 alone, “11 pedestrians have been hit and killed by drivers who fled the scene,” according to data collected by the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office.  Let’s remember that the average number of deaths is about 10, and we already have 11 heinous cases reported by June of this year.

And to make matters worse, hit-and-run drivers, by and large, are getting away with these crimes.  The San Diego Police Department explained that it has only solved one of the fatal hit-and-runs that have occurred since January.  As early as February of this year, NBC 7 referred to the “spike in hit-and-runs as an epidemic,” and more of these catastrophic collisions have happened since.

Examples of Fatal Hit-and-Run Accidents in San Diego County

In February 2014, San Diego news agencies had reported a “quick succession” of hit-and-run accidents.  On January 31, Seamus O’Bryan, 32, was killed by a white sedan that struck his motorcycle.  O’Bryan had been transporting himself and a friend, Peter Newbigin, who had been visiting San Diego from Australia.  The white sedan “had been traveling in the wrong lane.”  It stopped only briefly after striking O’Bryan’s motorcycle before turning and “speeding out of sight.”

Many people in the area witnessed the crash and called for an emergency medical response team.  However, O’Bryan was pronounced dead less than 30 minutes later.  San Diego detectives “were never able to track down the driver of that white sedan.”

Just three days after O’Bryan’s death, a 23-year-old Albertsons employee, Benjamin Ramirez, died in a hit-and-run accident while walking home from work.  Shortly thereafter, Alonso Flores Pacheco, an 81-year-old man from San Ysidro, was struck and killed in a similar manner.

Accident Resources and Getting Legal Help

As the article points out, the more severe a crime, the more resources that a police department will provide to track down leads.  For hit and run cases that result in fatal injuries, the San Diego Police Department does its best to collect evidence that can lead to an arrest.

However, the traffic division of the San Diego Police Department has only six detectives assigned to it due to budget constraints.  As such, “detectives juggle a stack of cases each day, which include misdemeanor traffic cases as well as felonies, like hit-and-run fatalities.”

Have you been injured in a car accident or lost a loved one because of a fatal hit-and-run collision?  It’s important to discuss your case with an experienced San Diego accident attorney, as you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries.  Contact our office to learn more about how we can assist with your case.

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Slips and falls can be especially dangerous, especially when a victim falls from heights.  According to a recent article in U-T San Diego, a young 7-year-old boy sustained critical injuries after he fell “about 30 feet from a third-story window at a Del Mar hotel.”  How did this catastrophic hotel accident occur?  The Child Abuse Unit of the sheriff’s office currently is investigating the accident.  In some cases where serious falls occur, the hotel may have been negligent and can be held responsible for injuries.

Slip and Fall

Falls can occur anywhere, including when we’re on vacation.  If you or a loved one has sustained injuries at a hotel or motel, you should contact a San Diego hotel accident lawyer.  The experienced attorneys at the Walton Law Firm can discuss your personal injury case with you today.

Details of the Del Mar Hotel Accident

At around 6:20 p.m. on the night of the accident, members of the local sheriff’s office, as well as firefighters and paramedics, were dispatched to the scene of the accident.  According to the sheriff’s office, the boy had been on vacation with his family, and they had traveled to California from Korea.  When the accident occurred, the child “had been playing alone in one of the rooms booked by the family.”  Sgt. Dustin Lopez, who responded to the accident, indicated that when the boy’s family when to check on him in the hotel room, “they saw that he had fallen.”

Authorities don’t know yet whether the child opened the window himself or whether it was already open when he was left alone inside the hotel room.  Due to the fall, the child suffered a broken leg and “major head trauma,” according to Lopez.  A medical transport helicopter rushed him to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.

Serious Falls at Hotels

How often do serious falls occur at hotels?  These hotel accidents can affect both guests and employees alike.  Indeed, according to data collected in a report by a Cornell University researcher, slips and falls are the “most frequent accident type by cost for both guests and employees.”  When it comes to hotel guests, the following accidents and injuries are reported most commonly:

  •      Slips, trips, and falls account for about 42 percent of all hotel guest injuries.  These can happen when a hotel fails to warn guests that the floors are wet or slippery, or if a hotel fails to install proper railings on its stairways or balconies.  A fall from a hotel balcony, much like the catastrophic hotel accident in Del Mar, can result in life-threatening and fatal injuries.  According to the report, falls happen most commonly in hotel stairways, balconies, landings, ramps, parking lots, and bathtubs/showers.
  •      Security-related accidents and injuries account for approximately 40 percent of all hotel guest injuries.  What is a security-related accident?  It’s an accident where the hotel’s failure to provide security or to make an area safe led to an accident.  In some cases, for instance, an area should have been better lit with safety lighting.
  •      Food-borne illnesses result in about 3 percent of hotel guest injuries.

While the numbers differ for hotel employees, slips and falls still cause a majority of those accidents.  In fact, about 42 percent of all hotel employee injuries occur because of a serious fall.  The second-leading cause of employee injury, however, relates to handling dangerous materials.

Have you sustained an injury while on vacation at a hotel?  You should be able to feel safe when you stay at a hotel or motel. Contact a slip and fall attorney at the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can help.

Photo Credit: Hugo-photography via Compfight cc
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