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Tire Tread 1If you have defective tires, are you at risk of sustaining serious injuries in a car accident? According to a recent article in CBS News, a majority of defective tires simply are not being taken off the road. Drivers with defective tires continue to take their vehicles onto neighborhood roads and city highways, putting themselves and others at substantial risk of harm.

How do we know that most of these dangerous automobile products are remaining on the roads? A federal accident investigations board within the National Transportation Safety Bureau (NTSB) looked into the removal rate for recalled tires and determined that “only about 1 in 5 defective tires is being removed from the road through the safety recall process.” Given that abysmal number, the NTSB concluded that the “recall system is broken.”

Broken Recall System Failing to Alert Consumers

How is the recall system broken? According to the NTSB, manufacturers simply are not able to contact most defective tire owners. As such, those owners are not taking steps to prevent the continued use of those hazardous products. The NTSB determined that “as many as 80% of recalled tires do not get fixed, leaving danger rolling literally down American roads.” In some cases, car owners will replace their tires for other reasons, including flat tires or normal wear and tear (as many as about one quarter of drivers with defective tires). However, it looks as though part of the problem is one of registration.

Currently, tire dealers do not have to register sold tires with the tire manufacturer. Since this is not a requirement, most tire shops do not provide tire manufacturers with information about which consumers have purchased their products. Without this information, manufacturers are not able to contact many vehicle owners who could be driving around with dangerous tires on their cars. Independent tire dealers (meaning those that are not strictly owned or controlled by tire manufacturers) sell a large majority of consumer tires. CBS News indicated that these independent dealers that are not currently required to provide information about consumers sell more than 90% of consumer tires.

Tire Defects are Not Always Visible

Some people might suggest that consumers can examine their tires themselves to ensure that they do not contain hazards. However, it is important to keep in mind that many tire defects simply are not readily visible. For example, the article cited a car accident involving a 15-passenger van. When the driver felt the vehicle vibrating, he pulled over to check the tires but did not see a problem. Assuming that, because he could not see an issue with the tires, the vehicle was safe to drive, the van got back on the road. However, one of the tires failed, “causing the van with nine passengers to careen off the road and roll over.” The accident resulted in two fatalities and eight passengers with serious injuries. The defect, as it turned out, was on the inside of the tire.

What can consumers do? You can register your tires yourself with the manufacturer. By doing so, the manufacturer will be able to contact you as soon as there is a recall that could affect you. Between 2009 and 2013, 55 tire recall campaigns occurred that resulted in the recall of about 3.2 million tires. Every year, tire-related accidents lead to about 500 fatalities and 19,000 personal injuries.

If you or someone you love suffered an injury in a car accident that resulted from a product defect, you should discuss your case with an experienced San Diego product liability lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can help.

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According to a recent report from ABC News, a bus accident in San Francisco resulted in serious injuries to 20 people, including a bicyclist, car passengers, pedestrians, and tourists on the bus. Investigators continue to look into the causes of the accident, but early witness reports indicated that the double-decker bus “went out of control” in the moments before the crash, according to another report from CBS News. What happened in Northern California? And how can San Diego residents and visitors to Southern California prevent deadly bus accidents?

Bicyclist, Pedestrians Struck By Tour Bus

The report from ABC News indicated that, before the collision occurred, the bus driver for City Sightseeing had been “driving erratically and speeding for at least two blocks.” The bus first struck a bicyclist before hitting two pedestrians. The bus kept going, and it did not appear to slow down even after it crashed into moving automobiles. One witness, according to CBS News, described the bus as “going very quickly through the intersection—like at least 40 miles per hour and it looked like it was going out of control.”

The bus did not stop until it plowed into a construction site in Union Square. By crashing into a construction area, the bus accident caused scaffolding to fall. Emergency responders reported that they had to “pull people out who were pinned underneath the bus and scaffolding.” A security worker in the area described the scene as horrific, and he recalled the sound of the collision as it occurred, “It was like a bomb going off—just the boom, boom, like it wasn’t going to stop.” Another witness reported that the bus did not appear to have working brakes given its path of destruction.

At the time of the crash, 30 passengers were on the bus. 20 people suffered personal injuries, and eight people were rushed to the hospital. One of those eight passengers who required hospitalization was reported to be a minor. Several days after the bus accident, four people remained in critical condition. We do not yet know if the accident resulted from driver error or a mechanical problem. Investigators have made clear that, as part of their standard operating procedures, they will look into the possibility of:

  • Mechanical malfunctions and defective auto parts;
  • Alcohol use; and

  • Narcotics use.

Learning More About Tour Bus Accidents

In 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) prepared a study on motorcoach safety. It gathered data and reported some of the following facts and figures:

Each year more than 240 million people took trips on charter or tour buses.
When accidents happen on buses, bus passengers tend to be relatively injury-free (around 45 deaths for every 100,000 accidents). Pedestrians, bicyclists, and occupants of other vehicles tend to sustain the brunt of the injuries reported in serious bus accidents.
Between 2005 and 2010, an average of 1,003 bus accidents occurred each year. On average, 32 were fatal (totaling 44 deaths), and 505 were nonfatal.

If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a bus accident, you should speak with an aggressive San Diego bus accident lawyer to learn more about filing a claim for compensation. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about our services.

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Bus2Are children at risk of suffering a serious injury in a school bus accident? Do we need to consider the risks of traumatic brain injuries when we rely on school transportation? According to a recent report in the Times of San Diego, eight kids sustained injuries earlier this month while aboard a school bus that “made an abrupt stop.” The accident occurred close to Flinn Springs County Park in the later afternoon. At the time of the injuries, the bus had been carrying about 50 children. The California Highway Patrol indicated that many of those young students “reported hitting their heads as the vehicle lurched to a stop.”

Emergency responders ended up transporting eight of those kids to a local hospital for “precautionary exams.” Those medics evaluated numerous other children at the scene of the accident who complained of hitting their heads. What caused the accident and injuries? According to the California Highway Patrol, “the driver of the bus may have braked hard to avoid a collision.”

Deadly School Bus Accidents are Not the Norm

A recent article in USA Today emphasized that statistically speaking, deadly school bus crashes are rare, particularly when we are speaking of fatal injuries to children on board. When school bus collisions are fatal, “they rarely kill children, who log thousands of hours riding each year.” The article examined data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), noting that between 2004 and 2013 only 1,214 fatal school-related transportation accidents occurred. How small is that number in comparison to other auto accidents during the same period? In short, school bus accidents represent only about 0.4% of all fatal traffic collisions between 2004 and 2013.

Even when deadly school-related transportation accidents do take place, the victims who suffer fatal injuries are rarely those who are riding on the bus. According to the NHTSA, just over 130 people die each year in school bus accidents. And of those victims, only about 8% are school bus passengers. Who are the more common victims of fatal school bus accidents? In general, passengers in other vehicles tend to be at greatest risk of deadly injuries.

The NHTSA indicates that nearly 75% of fatal school bus accidents involve passengers in other cars. The remaining fatalities tend to involve pedestrians and bicyclists. As the article points out, “once a bus begins rolling down the road, a child is, statistically speaking, safer inside the bus than outside it.”

Preventing School Bus Accidents and Injuries

If children tend to be safest once they are inside a school bus (as opposed to outside of it), how can we take preventive measures to ensure that our children remain safe while they wait for the bus or step off the bus at the end of the school day? The National Safety Council recommends some of the following:

  • Stay away from traffic while waiting for the bus.
  • When the bus approaches, wait until it has completely stopped before trying to board.
  • Use the handrail when entering and exiting the bus.
  • Walk at least 10 feet ahead of the bus before crossing in front of it so the driver can see you.
  • Do not stand or walk anywhere near the rear wheels of the bus.

If your child suffered injuries in a school bus accident, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. An experienced San Diego bus accident attorney can answer your questions today. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can assist with your case.

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DSCN3891Fatal Car Accidents on Halloween

Last year around this time, the Associated Press reported on a severe auto accident in California that resulted in the deaths of three trick-or-treaters. The children who suffered fatal injuries in the pedestrian accident were 13-year-old girls, and two of them were twin sisters. The collision occurred in Santa Ana, and the hit-and-run driver fled the scene and later abandoned the SUV that struck the trick-or-treaters. The girls were struck while attempting to cross the road in a crosswalk.

While it may be impossible to avoid certain car accidents, it is possible to take preventive steps, particularly on Halloween. The article about the deadly hit-and-run accident last year noted that the young girls who were killed had been “wearing costumes with black leggings and dark clothing.”

It is difficult to know if this tragedy could have been prevented if the driver had been able to see the girls more clearly as they crossed in the crosswalk. At the same time, however, it is important to remember that the trick-or-treaters were following the rules for crossing the street: always cross at a crosswalk. Around the same time in Irvine, California, a man who had been trick-or-treating with his four-year-old son was also struck and killed by a car.

Preventing Accidents and Injuries During Halloween Celebrations

What can we do to prevent serious accidents from occurring in San Diego on Halloween? Car accidents involving pedestrians are just one source of serious injury that can happen on this holiday. According to a fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), both trick-or-treaters and homeowners can take steps to make Halloween a safer holiday. If you are planning to go trick-or-treating with your child or are allowing your older teen to go trick-or-treating with friends, pay attention to the following safety tips:

  • Choose Halloween costumes that are light or brightly colored. If this is not possible, apply reflective tape to your child’s costume or trick-or-treating bag to make it easier for drivers to see your child.
  • Always carry a flashlight when you are out trick-or-treating. A flashlight can allow a driver to more easily see you and your child (thus preventing a serious car accident), and it can also allow you and your child to avoid slipping or tripping hazards (thus preventing a severe slip, trip, and fall accident).
  • Always walk—do not run—from one house to the next. Running between houses on Halloween can lead to a trip and fall accident.
  • Always look both ways before crossing the street, and be sure to cross in a marked crosswalk if possible.
  • Walk on sidewalks wherever possible. If you must walk on the road, walk on the far edge of the street in a direction so that you are facing oncoming traffic and can quickly get out of the way if a car is coming.
  • Be sure that your child’s Halloween costume fits properly. An ill-fitting costume can lead to a trip and fall.
  • Buy flame-resistant costumes for your child, and encourage her to avoid lit jack-o-lanterns and luminaries. A burn accident can happen quickly.

Contact a San Diego Accident Lawyer

Nobody expects a deadly accident on Halloween. To be sure, this is an exciting holiday for children, and it should be a fun way for families and friends to celebrate together. However, accidents do happen on Halloween and they often result from another party’s negligence. If you or your child suffers a serious injury on Halloween, you should discuss your case with an experienced San Diego accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can assist you.

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FootballOver the last five years or so, new research on sports-related concussions and the long-term effects of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) has yielded startling results. According to a recent article from CNN News, a team of researchers just reported findings that may suggest chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) occurs more often than we previously suspected. As a brief reminder, CTE is a degenerative brain condition that can ultimately produce debilitating and life-altering effects.

Majority of Former NFL Players Suffered from Degenerative Condition

The new study concluded that 87 out of 91 former NFL players studied—96% of all former players examined—suffered from the degenerative brain condition known as CTE. Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed with certainty after death. As such, the recent research focused on the brain of 91 former NFL players who had donated their brains to science for the purpose of learning more about the long-term effects of head trauma on athletes.

CTE is linked most notably to “repeated head trauma and multiple concussions,” according to the researchers from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University. Scientists do not yet know why some players develop CTE and others do not. Not all NFL players who sustain multiple hits to the head during the course of their careers will suffer from this debilitating condition, yet the recent findings suggest that a majority of players may have to contend with this destructive condition.

While researchers feel relatively certain that you will not develop this condition unless you have a history of repetitive trauma to the brain, the new data suggests that CTE may be more common than athletes have previously believed. CTE is not a condition that develops among only a very small percentage of athletes who engaged in contact sports. Rather, the fact that 96% of the former NFL players studied suffered from this disease intimates that a majority of former players may in fact be at serious risk of developing the degenerative ailment.

Determining Risk for CTE

The researchers hope to emphasize that CTE does not strictly affect athletes. Dr. Robert Cantu, one of the scientists who studied the recent data, highlighted that “there are a number of cases in people who never saw an athletic field.” Examples of other persons in whom CTE has been discovered include but are not limited to the following:

  • Former members of the military;
  • Persons with seizure disorders or those who have suffered seizures;
  • Autistic children who have banged their heads repeatedly;
  • Victims of physical abuse; and
  • Stunt professionals.

The recent findings first were reported by the television documentary series “Frontline,” and they are now available, along with relevant data, on the Concussion Legacy Foundation’s website.

Contact sports can be particularly hazardous given the rate at which concussions occur on the field. If you or a loved one sustained multiple concussions and have developed early symptoms of CTE, it is important to learn more about your options for seeking compensation. A dedicated San Diego brain injury lawyer can answer your questions today. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about the services we provide for plaintiffs with brain injuries and other sports-related trauma.

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darkedinburgh_bike2Are San Diego bicyclists safe from a serious car accident when they head onto the roadways? While a recent article from CBS Sacramento emphasized that a bicycle safety law took effect around this time last year, that report also underscored that many California drivers simply do not know what the law entails or how to share the road properly with cyclists. A recent string of severe and fatal bicycle accidents in the San Diego area makes clear that our state may need to get tougher when it comes to bicycle accident prevention and law enforcement.

Recent Bicycle Accidents in San Diego

When it comes to recent news surrounding serious and deadly bicycle crashes in San Diego, the news simply is not good. For instance, earlier this week, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that a 51-year-old bicyclist suffered serious injuries after being struck by a car in Pacific Beach. The automobile crashed into the cyclist as he attempted to cross Mission Bay Drive. According to a San Diego police officer on the scene, the rider did not attempt to cross the street at a crosswalk or an intersection. In striking the cyclist, the vehicle caused “several abrasions, a broken arm, and a head injury.” The rider was transported to a local hospital by emergency responders. At the time of the collision, the bicyclist was not wearing a helmet.

While the recent accident in Pacific Beach did not prove deadly, other bicyclists have not been as lucky. A recent report from San Diego 6 News indicated that a 63-year-old rider suffered fatal injuries at the end of last month after he rode into an intersection against a red light. And other cyclists in Southern California have suffered serious injuries—potentially attributable to negligence on the part of the automobile drivers—within the last month.

For example, an article in The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on a hit-and-run bicycle accident that occurred on September 17th and left a woman with a “major leg injury.” The rider had been cycling behind her husband in a designated bike lane when a compact car struck her from behind and kept driving. Status reports on the injured cyclist have suggested that recovery from her injuries may take up to two years. During the first week of September, a similar news report revealed that a 38-year-old bicyclist suffered critical injuries after being struck by a driver in Balboa Park. The rider suffered head injuries that were described as life-threatening.

California Bike Lane Laws

Could ignorance about certain California bike safety laws be to blame for the recent increase in serious and fatal bicycle injuries? The CBS Sacramento article reminded readers that our state established a three-foot bike law more than a year ago, which went into effect on September 16, 2014. The law is designed to give riders a “buffer” between themselves and dangerous automobiles on the road.

However, the California Highway Patrol recently indicated that it has only issued six citations for violations of this law. According to Jeanie Ward-Waller, a spokesperson for the California Bicycle Coalition, “it’s surprising that there’s been so little enforcement when we know there are huge safety issues in every city and town across California.” Bicycle safety advocates suggest that better enforcement could help to reduce the number of bicycle accidents and fatalities throughout the state.

If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, you should discuss your case with a dedicated San Diego bike accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about your options for seeking compensation.

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file0001569965691Deadly car accident rates are climbing across the country, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times. California is among the states with the highest fatality rates. Why are so many more fatal traffic collisions occurring? According to the article, the growing economy may be to blame.

Economic Factors Result in More Traffic Collisions

Now that the recession has ended, more Americans are working again. Even more of us can afford to buy cars. Gas prices have declined, making it more affordable for us to make daily commutes. What all of these factors add up to, however, is more vehicles on the road at any given time. Indeed, experts emphasize that “deadly automobile crashes have surged dramatically in the first half of 2015 as Americans hit the roads in record numbers, in part due to a stronger economy and more affordable fuel.” Gas prices are about $1 cheaper than this same time last year, meaning more families can afford to fuel up.

According to Ken Kolosh, the manager of statistics at the National Safety Council (NSC), “we’re not even into the more dangerous parts of the year” for car accidents. Yet the numbers are already troubling. For instance, traffic-related fatalities have climbed by 14% from the same period a year ago and nearly 33,000 people have died. As Kolosh explained, if this rate of fatal crashes continues, the U.S. could see more than 40,000 traffic-related deaths in 2015—a number that we have not seen in nearly a decade.

The rise in auto accidents comes as a surprise to many, given the trend toward fewer serious auto accidents over the last ten years. “Cars have become safer and traffic laws stricter.” Generally speaking, those two factors have helped to limit the number of deadly collisions. However, the sheer number of drivers on the roads in the first part of 2015 has resulted in more crashes. The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) estimates that Americans drove about 1.54 trillion miles already this year—an all-time record.

When so many more miles are being traveled, there is a higher risk of encountering a negligent driver, such as a:

  • Drunk driver
  • Distracted driver
  • Drowsy driver

California Hit Hardest by Rise in Auto Fatalities

Why are such a large number of these crashes happening in California? Statistics show that accidents in our state have climbed by 20% from the same period in 2014, meaning that 1,566 people have suffered fatal injuries in California in 2015 alone. Texas was the only state in the country with more deadly crashes. Experts indicate that “the increase in miles driven doesn’t totally explain the increase in crashes in California.”

While it is still too early for experts to speculate on specific reasons for the rise in accident deaths California, some commentators suspect that distracted driving may be a significant factor. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) continues to analyze data, hoping to pinpoint a reason for the upward trend in auto fatalities.

In the meantime, if you or someone you love suffered a serious injury in an auto accident, you should get in touch with an experienced San Diego car accident attorney as soon as possible to learn more about filing a claim for compensation. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can assist with your case.

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In September 2014, John and Heidi were heading to a Central California hotel for their honeymoon. While on a two lane country road, a car heading the opposite direction suddenly swerved into their lane and hit them head on. The results were catastrophic. Two women in the small car were killed, and John and Heidi suffered massive injuries.

After a hospitalization and surgery, a friend recommended Walton Law Firm. Randy Walton took the case, and after an investigation and approximately 10 months of advocacy, Walton Law Firm was able to obtain a seven-figure settlement for the couple, which has helped them in their recovery and to regain the parts of their lives lost in the accident.

Here’s what they had to say about their experience with Walton Law Firm.

Walton Law Firm
(866) 607-1325

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file0001887367985IKEA is a popular retailer for San Diego residents who are seeking affordable but stylish furniture for their homes. Are IKEA product defects, particularly those implicated in child injuries, a reason to stay away from the store? According to a recent article from Consumerist, IKEA is re-recalling (in other words, recalling for a second time) one of its crib mattresses. What is the problem with the crib mattress? Based on the recall issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the recall is due to the alleged flammability of the mattresses. In previous recalls, the same mattresses posed a risk of entrapment to young children. News of this recall comes on the heels of two other serious IKEA recalls, begging the question: Are IKEA products safe for your kids?

Details of the Mattress Recall

What do you need to know about the product defect identified in a specific group of IKEA mattresses? First, the name of the product is the VYSSA SPELEVINK crib mattress, and the CPSC identified the following hazard in this consumer item: “The crib mattresses fail to meet the federal open flame standard for mattresses, posing a fire hazard.” The mattresses were sold at IKEA stores throughout the country, including the San Diego area, between October of 2010 and May of 2014.

If you purchased one of these mattresses, you should immediately stop using it and return it to an IKEA store. Consumers were previously urged to return this same model due to the serious child injury risks it posed. Specifically, a recall issued by the CPSC detailed how the crib mattresses were constructed in such a way that they “could create a gap between the mattress and crib ends larger than allowed by federal regulations.” Those federal regulations are in place to prevent infants from getting trapped and suffocating.

Yet the crib mattress is not the only consumer issue that IKEA currently faces. The brand has been linked to other products that could pose unreasonable risks to children.

Child Injuries and Consumer Products

In addition to the crib mattresses identified in the recent recall, Consumer Affairs recently reported on a recall of IKEA nightlights due to the risk of electrical shock to kids. The PATRULL nightlights, which were designed in multiple different colors to be used in children’s rooms, were made with a plastic covering that could easily become detached. Once that cover detaches, the electrical components of the nightlight are exposed. One child already suffered an electrical shock injury. Although no other known incidents were reported, it is extremely important for parents to stop using these nightlights.

Shortly before news of the nightlight recall, headlines reported on the defective IKEA “Malm” dressers, which posed an unacceptable tipping risk. Two children died because of the product defect. In all, IKEA recalled 27 million dressers and chest, according to an article in Huffington Post.

When we buy products for use in our homes, we deserve to expect that they will not cause harm to our children. However, injuries caused by defective products do happen. If your child suffers an injury from a defective product, you should discuss your case with a San Diego product liability lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about our services.

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file0002028422702Injuries to older adults can happen in many places and they can have numerous causes. In some cases, intentional bad acts from elder abuse can result in serious personal injuries to California seniors. At the same time, as the body ages it becomes more fragile and prone to slip and fall injuries. Given the frailty of many elderly persons, another party’s negligence can quickly become deadly. In some cases, it is in the very homes of older adults in California that injuries occur. How can you ensure that your home is safe? If an elderly loved one lives at home, how can you be certain that your loved one is not at risk of preventable injuries? These are questions that were posed recently in an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Identifying Potential Hazards in Your House

About 90% of older adults in America say that they want to remain in their own homes—they do not want to have to move to an assisted-living facility or nursing home. However, hidden dangers may be lurking in their houses that would not pose a threat to a younger resident but could lead to a serious accident for someone of retirement age.

Many common features of Southern California homes could lead to a serious fall that results in broken bones—or worse. Some of the typical features of a house to which the article points include:

  • Upstairs bedrooms;
  • Bathtub that requires you to climb into it;
  • Cabinets up high; and
  • Appliances in low cupboards.

As one retired San Diego architect explained, “most San Diego homes are an injury minefield” for seniors who cannot get around as easily. He went on to emphasize, “We’re dealing with an enormous segment of our society and what concerns me is that people are not safe on their own.” The irony is that San Diego prides itself on being a welcoming community with many opportunities for outdoor activities, regardless of age, year-round. Yet for many San Diego residents who enjoy the outdoors, the indoor parts of their lives could end up being the most hazardous.

How to Prevent Accidents

As the San Diego population continues to age, we need to think more carefully about the safety of our homes and social spaces. Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, to be sure, but they do not have to happen in domestic spaces. Although simply asking an older adult to climb the stairs or to step into a bathtub may not be considered negligence under the law, it is important to remember that we do have a duty to keep our properties free of hazards to those we invite inside.

In other words, if an entryway is wet from a rainstorm, it is the responsibility of the property owner to clean it up before someone gets hurt in a slip and fall accident. In terms of the structure and design of homes, elder advocates in the San Diego area have proposed a number of new living developments that would cater to elderly residents by providing some of the following:

  • Single-story models;
  • Lower cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom; and
  • Carpeted, rather than slick tiled, floors.

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in older adults, according to a fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you or an elderly loved one recently suffered an injury in a slip and fall accident, you may be able to file a claim for financial compensation. An experienced San Diego slip and fall lawyer can discuss your case with you today. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about our services.

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