bethany-legg-14229-copy-300x200For residents of Vista, California who regularly commute to work in San Diego County or have teen drivers on the road, it is extremely important to be aware of the dangers of distracted driving. As a fact sheet from the National Safety Council (NSC) explains, April is distracted driving awareness month. It is always a good idea to think about how distracted driving can impact our lives and to discuss safe driving and car accident prevention tips with your teen drivers. What else should you know about distracted driving and the risks of a crash in Southern California?

Using Technology to Prevent Distracted Driving in Vista

We often link technology with the increased risks of distracted driving. For instance, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting or talking on a cell phone while driving can greatly increase the risk of a serious motor vehicle crash. However, sometimes technology can actually help when it comes to distracted driving prevention.

matthew-hamilton-159691-copy-300x200According to a recent article in U.S. News & World Report, a San Diego County construction worker from Escondido suffered fatal injuries following the collapse of a concrete wall. The accident also resulted in nonfatal injuries to another construction worker on the scene. Construction accidents often are preventable, and it is important to understand steps to take to keep workers safe.

Investigating Wall Collapses and Preventable Construction Accidents

As the article clarifies, the construction accident occurred while construction workers were digging a trench at an auto dealership in San Diego County. During the trench digging for a new wall, a concrete wall collapsed and crushed the 51-year-old construction worker. Firefighters and emergency responders arrived at the scene, but it took about 90 minutes to clear the cinderblock rubble from the victim, and he was pronounced dead by the time the responders were able to reach him. As we noted above, another worker at the scene sustained more minor injuries and was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.

rmwtvqn5rzu-jesse-orrico-300x199Many residents of Oceanside have followed news about sports-related concussions and the lifelong effects of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). According to a recent article in the Washington Post, scientists have developed a new way of tracking and identifying a protein that may help to address the link between contact injuries and the risks of brain damage in athletes. How can a protein help to address TBIs in sports?

In brief, the protein may be able to help researchers develop better tests for identifying TBIs and treating them more quickly. What is this protein, exactly, and how might it be able to help residents of Oceanside and other areas of Southern California to obtain better treatment for brain injuries?

Learning More About the Protein Called “NFL”

eric-parks-87099-copy-200x300Who is responsible for severe and fatal bicycle accidents that occur in San Diego? The answer to that question depends on the specific facts of the case, but a recent report from NBC 7 News San Diego emphasizes just how important it is to file a bicycle accident lawsuit in Southern California if another party’s negligence results in your injuries. As that report notes, the City Council for the City of San Diego came to a unanimous agreement to pay a $4.85 million settlement to a cyclist who sustained severe and debilitating injuries as a result of an accident caused by uneven pavement.

While many bicycle accidents involve negligent motorists who are not paying attention to their surroundings or motorists who are driving aggressively and strike cyclists, the recent settlement makes clear that matters of premises liability can also affect the rate of bicycle accidents in urban areas.

Details of the Bicycle Accident in San Diego


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Over the last several years in areas around San Clemente, tour bus accidents have resulted in serious and fatal injuries. In most—if not all—of these bus crashes, investigators have suggested that the accidents could have been prevented. What are cities in Orange County and San Diego County doing to prevent similar crashes in the future? According to a recent article in The Mercury News, there is a new law in California allowing cities and counties to request tour bus inspections from the California Highway Patrol, yet most cities and counties in the state simply are not using the rule to help avoid tour bus collisions.

Using Assembly Bill 1677 to Prevent Tour Bus Crashes in California

As of January 2017, Assembly Bill 1677 has been in effect. What does this law do? The text of the bill explains that it requires the Department of the California Highway Patrol (CHP), “upon request of, and in consultation with, representatives of a local government in a jurisdiction where tour buses operate, [to] develop protocols for entering into memoranda of understanding with local governments to allow the department to increase the number of the locally operating tour buses that are being inspected by the department.”

kalu-ci-146209-300x200For many San Diego residents, the relatively recent and seemingly ever-expanding Takata air bag recall was a source of anxiety and frustration. As you may remember, the Takata air bags installed in dozens of different automobile makes and models ran the risk of exploding as a result of a defective inflator, causing severe and life-threatening shrapnel injuries, and some victims even died as a result of their injuries. Over the last several weeks, Takata news stories have largely focused on culpability for the Takata executives who may have known about the serious product defect yet did not take steps to remedy the issue before consumers got hurt. However, according to a recent article in CNET.com, there is a new Takata air bag safety issue that has prompted another recall.

What do you need to know about the new recall, and what should you do if you drive one of the affected vehicles?

New Takata-Sourced Air Bag Product Defect

Lately, we have had several clients who were treated at Palomar Medical Center after being injured in car accidents (or other accidents), and were asked by hospital staff how the accident occurred, and whether the patient/client intended to hire a lawyer (remember, the accident just happened). The Palomar employee then informs the patient that it will not likely be billing the patient’s health insurance, but will wait and submit medical bills to the patient’s lawyer, and wait to get paid out of the case.

This situation causes a fair amount of confusion to the patient, and a high dose of concern. Some of these patients call to see if the hospital can do this, and worry that they will personally be on the hook for medical bills.

Can Palomar Hospital do this? The short answer is Yes. Under California’s Hospital Lien Act, a hospital that provides medical services to a person injured by an accident or some other wrongful act may place a lien on the damages recovered from the negligent party “to the extent of the amount of the reasonable and necessary charges of the hospital.” Civ. Code § 3045.1.  But what the hospital can recover is not absolute. For example, it cannot take more than half of any amount recovered by the injured party. Also, its lien is secondary to other liens. So, for example, if you hired a lawyer before the hospital perfected its lien, the hospital’s lien would be secondary to your attorney’s lien for fees. Since most personal injury fee arrangements are one-third of the recovery, Palomar could only make a claim for up to half of the rest, which is roughly 33%.

ian-schneider-38957-300x200While beaches in Carlsbad and Oceanside are popular throughout the year, these beaches grow particularly crowded during the summer when the risk of a drowning accident increases. According to a recent article in The San Diego Union-Tribune, a drowning death in Carlsbad last summer has left members of the community “looking for ways to improve safety at its three-quarter-mile North Beach before the busy season returns.” Currently, that area of the beach, which is very close to Oceanside, does not have lifeguards on duty. In the event of an emergency, state lifeguards will “respond from the nearby state beach.” However, safety advocates argue that such a response is insufficient.

Developing a Plan to Make Carlsbad Beach Area Safer

The City Council, according to the article, wants its staff to “develop a plan on how to make the beach safer, including the possibility of adding lifeguards there.” According to City Manager Kevin Crawford, City Council staff members will conduct research into different safety options and will seek involvement from Carlsbad residents before providing the City Council with “some options that could be implemented before summer.” As Crawford clarified, “It’s going to be a push . . . a lot of work, but I think we can do it.”

rmwtvqn5rzu-jesse-orrico-300x199If you or someone you love recently sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in San Marcos, you likely have many questions about how you will get medical care. Currently, regional disability services are not available to victims of TBIs when they sustain them after the age of 18, according to a report from KHTS Santa Clarita News. However, newly proposed legislation aims to allow younger California residents—between the ages of 18 and 22—to receive access to regional disability services. The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 283, is a measure introduced by State Senator Scott Wilk, a Republican from Santa Clarita.

If the bill passes, how will it better serve TBI victims in California? What else should you know in the meantime about traumatic brain injuries?

Senate Bill 283 Aims to Provide Disability Services to Broader Population

Walton_Law_Firm_FB_Ads_San_Marcos_Version4-216x300Eric S. is an avid triathlete. In his early 50s, he is a top age group finisher in the triathlons he enters. To train, he spends many weekly hours on his bike on North County roads. It’s not uncommon for him to ride from his home in San Marcos east through Escondido toward the desert, or west through Carlsbad and up to San Clemente. Like most avid cyclists, he has had many close calls with inattentive drivers, and on January 11, 2011 his luck finally ran out.

On that day, Eric was riding his bike in the bike lane of El Norte Parkway in Escondido when he was cut off by a pickup truck. Eric collided with truck, and the impact knocked him off his bike and into a busy traffic lane. Luckily, he wasn’t struck when he hit the ground. The California Highway Patrol who investigated and made a report of the incident, concluded that the driver of the pickup was at fault for this accident when he failed to yield the right of way to Eric in violation of 22107 of the California Vehicle Code.

Eric was taken to Palomar Medical Center from the scene of the accident, and complained of right shoulder and arm pain, as well as pain to his lower ribs and chest. He didn’t lose consciousness, but he did hit his head hard enough to crack his helmet.  Several CT scans were taken which showed that Eric suffered a right clavicle fracture and a right inferior scapula fracture, as well as friction burns and multiple contusions to his chest, ribs and back.

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