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According to a recent article in the OC Register, “as summer, and summery weather, loom, so do deaths in Orange County.” Drowning becomes the cause of many preventable deaths when the weather grows warmer and summer vacations take place. While a report from the Orange County Health Care Agency identified alarming statistics concerning drowning accidents in the state, residents of San Diego should also be on notice. While Southern California can be an idyllic place to live or spend a week in the summer, the risk of drowning very much exists.

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Identifying Drowning Risks in Southern California

Most of us assume that young children are among those most likely to suffer fatal injuries in a drowning. As a result of this assumption, we often expect that adults can handle themselves when they’re in the water, and we’re less likely to suspect a drowning accident. However, the recent report showed that, “while toddlers are at higher risk for water-related emergencies, they weren’t the age demographic most likely to die in the water.” To be sure, adults aged 65 and older “drowned more frequently than any other age group.”

Between 2011 and 2013, 38 adults within the 65 and up age group suffered fatal injuries in a drowning accident. When we compare that with the number of young kids who died, we can see that only 11 children under the age of 5 years old suffered similarly fatal drowning injuries. In total, 105 people drowned in Orange County between 2011 and 2013. Of those victims, 90 were adults and 15 were children.

Where do these drowning accidents occur? In short, they happen anywhere that water is present, including the ocean, lakes, swimming pools, spa whirlpools, and even bathtubs. In response to the number of elderly drowning deaths, the Orange County Fire Department has attempted to step up its water safety awareness programs, and it’s hoping to aim those programs toward older adults in Southern California.

Why are elderly Californians more likely to drown than persons in other age groups? According to the data in the county report, there are a number of “incremental factors ranging from medical emergencies such as heart attacks to intoxication by alcohol or drugs.” While we cannot always know whether someone will suffer an emergency while they’re in a body of water, emergency medical responders emphasize that there’s “one thing that can mean the difference between life and death: whether someone in the water is alone or accompanied.”

Water Emergencies Happen, and You Shouldn’t Be Alone

To be sure, drownings happen to adults who know how to swim. And they’re often fatal because the adult was in the water by herself or himself. We often emphasize the “buddy system” to our kids when we talk about water safety. Yet the buddy system isn’t just for young children. Even adults who consider themselves to be experienced swimmers shouldn’t go into the water alone.

Since January, Orange County has seen six water-related deaths and four near-drowning incidents. Of those reported, five of the accidents included adults over the age of 50. Data from San Diego County shows that more than 30 drowning deaths tend to occur each year. To be sure, in 2009, 34 people drowned in San Diego County. While that number showed an increase from the previous two years, it doesn’t appear to be an anomaly. In 2004, for instance, the county reported 41 water-related deaths.

Drowning is a common cause of unintentional deaths in Southern California. As we near summertime, it’s important to think about water safety and taking responsibility for young children and older adults who may frequent the pool or the ocean. In the meantime, if you or someone you love drowned, you should contact an experienced San Diego drowning accident lawyer about your case.

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While the NFL concussion lawsuits have made many Californians aware of the risks of sports-related head trauma, it’s important to remember that these injuries aren’t limited to professional sports. Indeed, a recent article in Consumer Affairs reported that “high school players are at much higher risk than youth- or college-level players” of sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) on the field. And when do most of these injuries take place? According to the article, it’s not during the games. Rather, a majority of concussions occur during regular practices.

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Call for Action in High School Practices

Did you know that more than 50 percent of all concussions sustained among high school and college players take place during practices? That’s the conclusion drawn by researchers in a new study in JAMA Pediatrics, which examined data from more than 20,000 athlete seasons. If so many TBIs are taking place during practices, should coaches and other officials be doing more to prevent these serious injuries?

As many of us know, sustaining multiple concussions can put athletes at risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain condition that ultimately can lead to untimely death. If young athletes can practice sports more safely, coaches and trainers should be doing more to prevent concussions. According to the authors of the study, “concussions during practice might be mitigated and should prompt an evaluation of technique and head impact exposure.” Further, the researchers recognized that, “although it is more difficult to change the intensity or conditions of a game,” coaches and others can employ “many strategies during practice to limit player-to-player contact and other potentially injurious behaviors.”

During the 2012 and 2013 football seasons alone, players sustained a total of 1,198 reported concussions. Of those reported, about 12 percent occurred in youth football, nearly 22 percent in college, and more than 66 percent in high school football. While TBIs occurred most frequently at the high school level, the study emphasized that “football practices were a major source of concussion at all three levels of competition.”

California Concussion Safety Law

In California, we have a concussion safety law that aims to help with the prevention and treatment of sports-related head injuries. The law specifically governs “limitations to full contact activities in tackle football, concussion management, and return to play following concussion and other head injury.”

Recognizing the number of concussions sustained by student athletes each year, the California legislature instituted language that would help to protect young football players after sustaining brain trauma. In short, coaches and trainers must take certain steps to ensure the safety of athletes. And if they fail to abide by the law, they may be liable for injuries.

Sports-related concussions can have serious and even fatal consequences. If you have a child who plays contact sports like football or hockey, it’s important to understand the risks. And if your child sustains multiple concussions during the course of play, you may be able to file a claim for financial compensation. Don’t hesitate to discuss your case with an experienced San Diego brain injury attorney.

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Brain Injury Awareness Month

 

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Insurance companies often make assumptions about certain dog breeds and dog bites when it comes to policies for homeowners’ insurance. Should everyone—from homeowners to pedestrians to outdoor employees—have the same concerns about particular dog breeds or mixes? According to a recent article in Bankrate.com, companies that specialize in dog liability insurance just may be onto something new in terms of dog bite injuries and statistics.

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Are Some Dogs Riskier Than Others?

In San Diego, Einhorn Insurance, a company that specializes in dog liability insurance, recently put together a list of dog breeds that are “most often deemed dangerous by insurance companies.” However, Einhorn emphasizes that “it doesn’t agree with these opinions” and seeks to help homeowners and dog owners who are responsible.

But should pedestrians and other passersby agree with Einhorn? Or should we be worried when we walk by a home with a dangerous breed sitting on the front porch? Let’s begin by taking a look at some of the breeds that many insurers have deemed more likely to attack than others and have been placed on ban lists:

  • Pit bulls and Staffordshire terriers: in general, when people talk about “pit bulls,” they’re usually referring either to the American pit bull terrier or the American Staffordshire terrier. These dog breeds “have a reputation for being unpredictable and dangerous,” and they’re often responsible for fatal dog bites in California.
  • Doberman pinschers: this breed hasn’t been among the most notable in recent years when it comes to dog bite injuries, but Dobermans were involved in a number of attacks back in the 1970s “when the breed’s popularity grew.” A pet Doberman most recently was implicated in a fatal dog bite involving an infant in 2008.
  • Rottweilers: like pit bulls, Rottweilers have been cited in a number of dog bites in California and other states in recent years. But is the breed to blame, or do these dogs tend to attract certain types of owners? In general, advocates for these dogs emphasize that they “need obedience training, socialization, and daily exercise” in order to be “kept under control.”
  • Chow chows: while this breed is a popular pet, its tendency to “protect its human family” can mean that it will behave aggressively around other dogs and outsiders.
  • Great Danes: primarily due to the dog’s large size, this breed has been known to be involved in several fatal dog attacks in recent years.
  • Presa Canario: as Bankrate.com explains, this breed “has become somewhat notorious because of a 2001 case in San Francisco” in which “a woman who kept two of the massive dogs is serving 15 years to life in prison because of the actions.” The dogs brutally attacked a neighbor in the hallway of the apartment building, and the injuries proved fatal. This breed often “makes the list” when it comes to breed bans.
  • Akitas: this breed to known to become aggressively quickly, particularly around children. To be sure, an Akita was responsible for a 3-year-old boy’s severe dog bite injuries in Murrieta, California back in 2013.
  • German shepherds: like pit bulls and Rottweilers, German shepherds often are cited in severe and fatal dog bite incidents.

Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer

After looking through a list of frequently banned breeds, should we believe that certain breeds are more dangerous than others? An article from the American Veterinary Medical Association emphasizes that “breed is a poor sole predictor of dog bites,” and that targeting particular breeds isn’t the proper way to prevent injuries. Instead, we must address specific factors related to:

  •      The individual pet;
  •      The target (the owner of the animal, a family member or friend, or a stranger);
  •      The dog’s living conditions and training; and
  •      Whether the dog is urban or rural.

While there’s no concrete predictive tool for animal attacks, it is important to speak with an experienced San Diego dog bite attorney if you are injured in an attack. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can assist with your case.

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A Fresno firefighter, Pete Dern, 49, recently suffered life-threatening burn injuries after being involved in a dangerous roof collapse, according to a recent article in the Fresno Bee. While his burns are treatable, the risk of infection associated with these types of injuries makes the firefighter’s condition particularly serious. How did the burn injuries occur? And how can we help to prevent severe and fatal burn injuries in the future?

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Intensive Treatment for Severe Burns

According to the article, Dern had been “leading several firefighters across a roof to provide ventilation for the safety of attack crews when the roof collapsed” on a house in flames. The firefighter fell through the roof of the garage. His fellow firefighters rescued him within minutes, which “was critical to his survival,” according to Dr. William Dominic, director of the Leon S. Peters Burn Center in Fresno, where Dern currently is receiving care.

The burn center actually was created back in 1974 in response to another firefighter’s burn injuries. At that time, burn centers “were a new idea,” and “there were only a few nationwide.” Burn centers across the country, including in Fresno, have special equipment to “treat smoke inhalation and hard-to-heal wounds.”

At the time the article was written, Dern remained in “stable but very serious condition,” reported the attending physician. The firefighter sustained inhalation injuries in addition to the second- and third-degree burns across approximately 65 percent of his body. Dern was placed on a ventilator in order to help him breathe, and he will be facing numerous surgeries. According to Dr. Dominic, “this could be a very prolonged situation,” with many necessary surgeries to “remove dead tissue and do temporary skin grafts.”

Dern’s protective gear, in addition to the other firefighters’ quick response time, helped to save his life. To be sure, the firefighter’s clothing significantly reduced the burns to his body. Without it, his doctor explained, “it’s highly unlikely he would have been alive long enough for someone to help him out.” After the accident occurred, investigators from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) reported to the scene in Fresno “to investigate the work injury.” The Fresno Fire Chief also plans to hire independent investigators to look closely at the causes of the accident that caused Dern’s severe burn injuries.

Learning More About Burn Injuries

What do you need to know about burn injuries? According to the American Burn Association, the following facts and figures are important to keep in mind if we’re going to take preventive measures when it comes to serious burns:

  • Each year, about 450,000 patients receive medical treatment for burn injuries.
  • About 40,000 people require hospitalization for burn injuries, of which around 30,000 are treated at burn centers.
  • On average, approximately 3,400 patients suffer fatal injuries from fires, burns, and/or smoke inhalation. More than 2,500 result from residential fires, while other causes include automobile crash fires, contact with electricity, and contact with hot objects or liquids.
  • More men than women tend to suffer serious burn injuries. Of those reported, about 70 percent of the patients were men, while about 30 percent were women.
  • In general, burn injuries have a high survival rate at more than 95 percent. However, surviving a serious burn injury can still result in lifelong disabilities and disfigurement.

If you or someone you love sustained serious burn injuries, you may be able to file a claim for financial compensation. Don’t hesitate to contact the Walton Law Firm to discuss your case with a dedicated San Diego burn injury attorney.

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Fallbrook Man Dies in Fatal Crash

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Motorcycle accidents can be extremely serious, and in many cases they result in fatal injuries. According to a recent article in U-T San Diego, a 46-year-old man from Fallbrook died in a motorcycle crash late last month. What happened? Based on testimony from the group members with whom he had been out riding and the California Highway Patrol officer who responded to the accident, the motorcyclist rode ahead of the others and “entered a curve at high speed, braked, and lost control of his motorcycle.” The rider “was thrown from the bike and hit his head [on] the metal guard rail.”

The force from the collision was so extreme that the motorcyclist’s helmet was knocked off, and the other riders found him “lying in the road, unconscious.” The accident occurred around 11:20 p.m. The motorcyclist was rushed to a hospital in Escondido by emergency responders, but he later died from the traumatic head injury he sustained in the crash.

What caused the crash? The initial California Highway Patrol report suggests that aggressive driving—speeding, specifically—led to the deadly accident. This crash, as with numerous other motorcycle accidents, likely could have been prevented. What do you need to know to prevent fatal motorcycle injuries?

Motorcycle Safety: Preventing Deadly Accidents in Southern California

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motorcycle crashes result in more than 4,500 deaths each year. Thousands more produce debilitating injuries, making motorcycle accidents “a growing public health concern.” To be sure, the financial cost of motorcycle collisions has grown in recent years, totaling about $12 billion annually. It’s more important now than ever to take note of these facts, given that “motorcycle ownership is at an all-time high,” particularly in sunny California. What can you do to ensure that you or someone you love avoids a devastating motorcycle crash?

The CDC emphasizes that we should know the risk factors for a deadly motorcycle collision:

  • Age is a major factor, and the age of many motorcycle accident victims has shifted in recent years. While young people used to be the ones who were most susceptible to a crash—making older drivers, perhaps, consider themselves safer on their bikes—more than 50 percent of all deadly motorcycle accidents in recent years have involved drivers aged 40 and up.
  • Helmets are extremely important for motorcycle safety. To be sure, more than 40 percent of motorcycle operators and 50 percent of motorcycle passengers who sustain fatal injuries in accidents weren’t wearing helmets.
  • Riding under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs drastically increases your risk of being involved in a deadly collision. Nearly 30 percent of motorcyclists who sustain fatal injuries in accidents have blood alcohol concentrations above the legal limit.
  • Believe it or not, the type of motorcycle you ride can be a risk factor for a fatal crash. Most people who suffer life-threatening injuries, according to the CDC, “are riding sport motorcycles with mid-size engines designed to maximize speed and agility.”

If you recently lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. Many deadly accidents occur because of another driver’s negligence. Contact an experienced San Diego motorcycle accident attorney today to learn more about how we can assist you with your case.

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Youth football leagues have paid attention to the seriousness of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), multiple concussions, and the risks of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). To be sure, one Pop Warner football program in northern California now requires its players to wear helmets that have “special brain sensors” installed, according to a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle.american-football-155961_1280

Brain Sensor Technology Sends Alerts

California youth sports leagues appear to be leading the way in brain injury prevention. The Southern Broncos are the first Pop Warner team in California—as well as the first team in the country—to require helmets with brain sensors. According to the article, “they launched a three-year pilot program with sensors manufactured by a Maryland company called Brain Sentry.” The device is just about the size of a USB drive, and it’s placed in the back of each player’s helmet. When a player suffers a potentially dangerous hit, “the alert light turns solid red.”

Last season, five different young players “had their sensors go off,” requiring them to leave the field immediately for a medical evaluation. The league president, Joe Rafter, indicated that one of the 12-year-old players who left the field “was diagnosed with a concussion and kept out of practice and games for two weeks.” Rafter emphasized that parents are more anxious than ever about letting their kids play contact sports, in particular football. While the brain sensors aren’t convincing parents on the whole that the game is safe, “it completely changes the conversation,” Rafter said.

But is youth football really safe for kids? As many of us have read, multiple concussions can result in the deadly effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) years and even decades following hits to the head. Based on research from Boston University’s CTE Center, just two concussions—even during a youth football career—could produce CTE symptoms down the road. If this is the case, can helmets with brain sensors really do enough to lessen the effects of sports-related concussions?

Youth Football Numbers On the Decline

After the recent NFL lawsuits concerning debilitating head trauma became national news, youth football leagues saw drastic drops in numbers. However, “those numbers have since leveled out,” according to Pop Warner officials, who reported about 225,000 youth players in the league over the last couple of years.

Numbers at the high school level, too, have dropped. Between 2007 and 2012, according to the California Interscholastic Federation, high schools have seen a 5 percent decline in football participation across the state. However, last year the numbers increased ever so slightly (by 1 percent).

In response to the “seriously threatened” future of professional football—after all, if kids aren’t signing up to play in high school, the chances of playing in college and the pros also declines—advocates for the sport got together to help fund the brain sensor technology. In conjunction with parents involved in youth football programs, Brain Sentry is funded “at a cost of approximately $8,500 per year,” which “includes baseline concussion tests for all 130 players” in the northern California league.

Will the use of such technology actually prevent brain injuries in practice? Or should youth football programs be required to take additional steps to limits the number of mild TBIs that occur on the field? If you have questions or concerns about your child’s recent sports-related brain injury, you should speak to an experienced San Diego brain injury attorney. You may be able to file a claim for compensation.

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While many Southern Californians don’t immediately think about train transportation when considering ways to commute, Metro trains are popular ways of traveling for students and other residents of the Los Angeles area. To be sure, both local railroads and national passengers trains run through California, and it’s important to be safe when it comes to the possibility of a train accident.

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According to a recent article from NBC Los Angeles, a Metro light rail train collided last week with an automobile near the University of Southern California, leaving a film student in “grave condition.” Officials reported that nine people who had been on the train, including the operator, were taken to the hospital following the car crash.

Details of the Metro Train Collision

How did the accident happen? Based on initial reports from investigators, the driver, Jacob Fadley, a 31-year-old film production graduate student, “may have made an improper turn to his left, crossed the tracks, and collided with the train.” The collision with the train resulted in the car being “wedged between the train and a pole,” which resulted in a train derailment. The automobile driver became trapped inside his badly damaged vehicle. In total, 21 people required medical attention from the accident, reported the Los Angeles Fire Department.

One witness, a USC freshman, told authorities he heard “a big, loud crash of metal” while inside his dorm room. He added that “it was huge, so we knew it wasn’t just a car crash. We figured something big happened, so we looked out our window and we saw half of a car smashed into the rail.” The driver was rescued from his “crumpled Hyundai Sonata” and rushed to the hospital for treatment. Several other victims sustain serious injuries, including the train operator.

Dean Elizabeth Daley of the USC School of Cinematic Arts reported that the driver, Fadley, “was very seriously injured,” but that he “is currently in stable condition.” Officials aren’t yet certain what caused the crash. The Los Angeles Police Department is looking into the possibility that there was a signal failure. The Department currently is in possession of an onboard camera that may provide some clarification.

Signal Failure and Train Crash Causes

Some suspect a possible signal failure, given that left turns, such as the one made by Fadley, “are regulated by a red or green left turn arrow, and there are flashing alarms for approaching trains, which are supposed to get ‘train stop’ signals if cars are turning across the grade crossing.” According to Najmedin Meshkati, a civil engineering professor at USC, train crossing could prove dangerous and should be the focus of a new study.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Safety Analysis recently reported that nearly 10,000 train accidents occur each year, with more than 6,000 reported serious injuries. Of those injured in train collisions and derailments, more than 600 fatalities occur annually. If drivers and pedestrian thought more carefully about safety, many of these severe and deadly injuries could be prevented. Some important safety tips include the following:

  • Don’t assume you can cross train tracks simply because you don’t see a train coming. No matter what, abide by the safety signals at railroad crossings.
  • Don’t walk along train tracks. It’s illegal, and you’re far more likely to suffer a serious or fatal injury.
  • Don’t stop on the tracks for any reason while you’re driving. Always come to a complete stop before the tracks if the safety signals alert you that a train is nearby.

Train accidents can be extremely dangerous. In many cases, negligence is a primary factor in derailments and serious collisions. If you or someone you love has been injured in a train crash, contact an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer today to learn more about how we can assist with your claim.

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Back in 2010, a deadly bus accident in Fresno resulted in the death of six people, including the bus driver and two passengers. According to a recent article in the Fresno Bee, a jury just decided in favor of Greyhound Lines, Inc. in a lawsuit related to the case, prompting the newspaper to report that, “this time, Goliath won.”

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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed By Victims’ Families

Sylvia Garay, Vanessa Gonzalez, and Stephanie Cordoba were among the victims killed in the deadly bus crash on Highway 99. The victims sustained fatal injuries “when a streaking bus plowed into” their SUV. Their families filed a wrongful death claim in Fresno County Superior Court, but the jury voted 10-2 in favor of Greyhound Lines, Inc. Reports indicate that the jury deliberated “less than three hours after a six-week trial, then left without speaking to attorneys in the case.”

The families had sought at least $6 million from Greyhound, but given that the jury found in favor of the bus company, the families of the deceased victims will not receive any financial compensation. Prior to the outcome of this case, Greyhound reportedly “spent more than $3 million to settle with the two dozen injured bus passengers,” as well as the families of two of the bus passengers who sustained fatal injuries. However, Greyhound didn’t offer any compensation to the families of the young women who had been passengers in the SUV that was struck by the bus.

What evidence existed in favor of the plaintiffs? According to the article in the Fresno Bee, the bus driver, James Jewett, caused the accident by driving aggressively. Indeed, the plaintiffs’ attorney argued that “the evidence clearly showed he was speeding in the fast lane and wasn’t wearing his eyeglasses when he slammed into the overturned SUV.” In other words, the SUV had already overturned when the bus crashed into it. The plaintiffs also presented evidence that “Greyhound’s own mechanics said Jewett’s bus had bad brakes, but supervisors wanted the bus on the road.”

Contradictory Evidence from the Defense

Why would the jury decide in favor of the defense if Greyhound didn’t properly maintain its bus and if the Greyhound driver hadn’t been obeying the rules of the road when the accident took place? The defense relied on information supplied by the California Highway Patrol, which “blamed the deadly crash on Garay, saying she was drunk when she overturned the SUV.”

In addition, the California Highway Patrol indicated that Jewett had in fact been wearing his glasses and, even with them on, he “couldn’t see the dark undercarriage of the SUV.” The defense also presented evidence showing that Jewett had been driving Greyhound buses for 32 years and maintained a clean driving record.

While it can be difficult to prove that a big company is liable for injuries in an accident, it is important to seek compensation when you have been injured because of another person’s negligence. Bus accidents often result in serious and fatal injuries. If you or someone you love has recently been injured in a bus crash, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. Contact an experienced San Diego bus accident lawyer at the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can assist with your case.

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Did you know that March is brain injury awareness month? Millions of Americans sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) each year, while many more continue to live with the effects of serious head trauma. In order to raise awareness about the severity of a brain injury—both to the victims themselves, as well as to the family members, friends, co-workers, and employers of the victims—and the ways we can help to prevent serious accidents from taking place.

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Not Alone in Brain Injury Awareness, Treatment, and Prevention

Each year, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) observes Brain Injury Awareness Month and develops a theme for its advocacy work. Between 2015-2017, the theme is “not alone.” According to the BIAA, “the Not Alone campaign provides a platform for educating the general public about the incidence of brain injury and the needs of people with brain injuries and their families.” In addition, the campaign “lends itself to outreach within the brain injury community to de-stigmatize the injury, empower those who have survived, and promote the many types of support that are available.”

According to a recent article from US Newswire, the Brain Injury Association of California (BIACAL) has recognized Brain Injury Awareness Month by hosting the “Walk For Brain Injury.” The event took place at the State Capitol on March 22md, raising tens of thousands of dollars for brain injury awareness. This year, 40 percent of the gross proceeds benefitted UC Davis Medical Center, which served as the local host organization. BIACAL was founded in 2005, and it helps California residents by “providing information and resources, education, prevention and awareness, and legislative advocacy.”

To aid efforts on a local basis, the BIAA provides a state advocacy toolkit aimed to help “state level advocates, both seasoned and new to the world of advocacy,” when it comes to brain injury awareness campaigns. The more you know about preventing head trauma, the more likely we’ll be able to reduce the number of injuries that occur each year. You can follow the BIAA’s campaign at #NotAloneinBrainInjury.

Facts and Statistics from the Brain Injury Association of America

What do you need to know about traumatic brain injuries? According to the BIAA, you should have an idea of some of the following facts and figures:

  • At least 2.5 million Americans sustain brain injuries every year. Of those injury victims, more than 2 million require emergency room treatment, and nearly 300,000 must be hospitalized.
  • 50,000 people die from TBIs each year.
  • Falls are the leading cause of serious and fatal TBIs. Other causes of severe head trauma include by struck by an object, being involved in an auto accident, and being the victim of an assault.
  • More than 12 million Americans currently are living with the effects of an acquired brain injury.

If you or a loved one recently sustained a traumatic brain injury in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, you should speak with an experienced San Diego brain injury lawyer about your case. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to discuss filing a claim for financial compensation.

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Back in September of 2012, Andre Walker, 30, suffered a serious injury due to a “gopher-infested soccer field in Ocean Beach,” according to a recent article in U-T San Diesoccer-ballgo. Earlier this month, Walker won a $450,000 settlement after filing a claim against the city in August 2013. While the specific facts of the case may seem like something out of a fictional narrative, the settlement emphasizes the importance of seeking compensation for injuries resulting from premises liability injuries.

Have you suffered a personal injury because improperly maintained premises? You may be able to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries. Don’t hesitate to discuss your case with an experienced San Diego personal injury attorney.

Improperly Maintained Soccer Field

How did the plaintiff’s injury happen? In short, Robb Field, or the Ocean Beach Recreation Area, had serious hazards on its premises. While it doesn’t seem like the most likely cause of a severe personal injury, the field was littered with gopher holes. One of those gopher holes caused serious injury to Walker’s knee, which ultimately “required total knee reconstruction.”

A number of recreational users filed complaints with the city, urging it to properly maintain the soccer field. Indeed, during arbitration, Walker’s attorney presented letters from other soccer players “noting that dangerous conditions had led to injuries ranging from sprained ankles to fractured femurs.”

Walker’s lawyer also presented proof that “the city contracted with the lowest bidding pest control company in order to reduce the number of pocket gophers at the site.” And despite the fact that the city knew about the problem and sought bids to eradicate it, players continued to suffer injuries. To be sure, even after Walker’s knee injury, players continued to get hurt from the poorly maintained field.

Why? In short, the grounds manager at Robb Field indicated that the pest control firm from whom the city entered into a contract, Epic Pest Control Company & Landscape Services, Inc., “entered a bid too low to cover the costs of exterminating the gophers.”

Severe Injury and Long-Term Disability

Walker’s injury was an especially severe one. Stepping in the gopher hole caused a “complete rupture of his anterior cruciate ligament, lateral collateral ligament, meniscus, and other injuries to his knee.” As a result, he required a total knee reconstruction, and has also developed a condition called drop foot. This condition prevents Walker from “lift[ing] his foot up and down or us[ing] his lower leg for almost two years.” In addition, he’s likely to “experience long-term disability as a result of his injury.”

Since Walker filed his lawsuit and settled, the city has reportedly “taken steps to improve the condition of Robb Field.” The field still has gopher holes, but there are fewer than when Walker sustained his injury. In addition, the city has managed to “substantially reduce the gopher population,” which will result in fewer gopher holes over time.

Premises liability is a broad area of the law that allows injury victims to seek compensation when they’ve been hurt because of a property owner’s negligence. Property owners have a duty to keep their premises free of hazards. If you have sustained an injury on another person’s property, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Contact an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer at the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can assist with your case.

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