Articles Tagged with personal injury

the-climate-reality-project-zr3bLNw1Ccs-unsplash-copy-300x200Nobody wants to think about toxic substances that may exist in the drinking water in Encinitas or elsewhere in Southern California. However, companies have disposed of toxic and otherwise harmful substances in ways that result in serious and fatal harms to consumers in California and throughout the country, giving rise to a category of personal injury lawsuits known as toxic tort claims. Toxic tort injuries in a small town in Southern California made national news back in 1996, yet as a recent article in Grist highlights, those toxic substances continue to have relevance. 

Toxic Torts Legislation in Hinkley, California

Anyone who has seen the film Erin Brockovich (2000) probably remembers the name Hinkley, a town in Southern California made famous in 1996 when, as the article explains, “a group of residents famously won a massive direct-action arbitration against Pacific Gas and Electric.” The case involved allegations against Pacific Gas and Electric, which ultimately was found responsible for “dumping hexavalent chromium (aka chromium-6), a carcinogen used to suppress rust formation at the Hinkley gas compressor station, into an unlined pond in the ‘50s and ‘60s.” By the 1990s, the chromium-6 had seeped into the groundwater in Hinkley, and many people suffered serious injuries.

hush-naidoo-382152-copy-300x200Patients in Vista and elsewhere in Southern California who have suffered injuries as a result of defective medical devices may have been the victims of an outdated medical device approval process. According to a recent article from Global Data Healthcare, patients across the U.S. received medical devices that ended up being dangerous for use and may not have been assessed as well as they could have been by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  

Now, in response to a report on tens of thousands of deaths caused by dangerous medical devices, the FDA has plans to change the way it approves medical devices for patient use.

Investigative Report Exposes Tens of Thousands of Medical Device-Related Fatalities

imthaz-ahamed-156276-unsplash-copy-300x169Whether you live in Encinitas or another part of San Diego County, you should know about a bill that has been introduced in California to “prohibit settlement agreements that keep secret information about dangerous products and environmental hazards,” according to a recent article in the Sacramento Bee. The bill is not the first of its kind. To be sure, a number of other states have enacted similar laws to help ensure that consumers can have important information about hazardous products that could cause personal injuries. We want to provide some more information about the bill, and to give you an idea of how it could impact personal injury lawsuits in Southern California concerning product defects.

Confidential Settlements and Defective Products in California

Assemblyman Mark Stone introduced Assembly Bill 889, which is designed to prevent lawsuit settlements that are conditioned on information about defective products that could pose “a danger to public health and safety” being kept confidential. Currently, when consumers file lawsuits against manufacturers after being injured by a product with a safety defect, for example, the manufacturer can settle the lawsuit and require the consumer to agree to confidentiality. Often, such confidentiality is to ensure that a protective order issued by the court that “prevent[s] plaintiffs from disclosing information that they have learned and insist, as a condition of settling a lawsuit, that the parties remain silent about the matter.”

nabeel-syed-2856-copy-300x200If you live in Rancho Bernardo and regularly commute within the San Diego area, you probably know that self-driving cars have become a frequent topic of conversation and concern in California. Many Southern California residents are not yet ready to share the road with autonomous vehicles, while others in the industry are pushing for the expansion of the self-driving car market. On the one hand, those in favor of self-driving cars argue, for instance, that these vehicles “will help create a safer, cleaner, and more mobile society,” according to a recent article in Science Magazine. On the other hand, some consumer safety advocates contend that the costs associated with autonomous vehicles may not outweigh the safety benefits, according to a recent report in USA Today.

Where does California law stand on autonomous vehicles and auto accidents? How should Rancho Bernardo residents assess the risks and benefits of self-driving cars?

Liability and Manufacturer Specifications

joao-victor-xavier-304057-copy-300x169If your teenager plays contact sports or engages in other activities in San Clemente that increases his or her risk of a concussion, is it better to avoid these sports altogether? Do the benefits of team sports and individual recreational activities outweigh the potential harms associated with a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI)? According to a recent report from NPR, teens may be sustaining concussions at a higher rate than most parents would like to believe. The report cites a research letter that was recently published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA, which indicates that “approximately 20 percent of teens . . . have been diagnosed with at least one concussion.”

What is causing teen concussions at such a high rate? What steps can parents take to reduce the risk of a TBI altogether, and to ensure that their child heals properly after sustaining a head trauma?

High School Students Surveyed About History of Head Injuries

bethany-legg-14229-copy-300x200Many Valley Center residents have heard about the risks of distracted driving. Indeed, as a report from ABC News 10 discusses, on January 1, 2017 additional cell phone laws took effect that prevent California drivers from holding a phone or doing anything more than making a single tap or a single swipe. While drivers are still permitted to use cell phones as GPS devices, provided that they are mounted somewhere in the vehicle, the change to the law aims to prevent distracted driving accidents. What about distracted walking? While the term might sound like an odd one, it is becoming a relatively serious problem in California and throughout major urban areas in the country.

According to a recent report from KEYT News 3, a local official is proposing a change to the law. In short, in order to improve public safety, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa is hoping to institute a distracted walking law that “would make it illegal to use the crosswalk while using your cell phone.” Is such a law likely to pass? Is it necessary to prevent pedestrian accidents?

Pedestrian Accidents on the Rise Due to Smartphone Use

joao-victor-xavier-304057-copy-300x169Is high school football in San Marcos really as dangerous as scientists and physicians have been suggesting? Does playing high school football increase young athletes’ risk for sports-related concussions and more serious traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), in addition to placing them in danger of developing the degenerative brain condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)? Most physicians would say, in general, yes. However, according to a new study published in JAMA Neurology, not all high school football players appear to have sustained long-term damage from playing the sport in their youth. High school football players in the 1950s did not, on the whole, show signs of cognitive impairment.

This study appears to call into question some of the recent research on TBIs and high school football. What are the key takeaways from this study, and should this research change the way we manage the risk of brain injuries in contact sports?

Study Explores Link Between Youth Sports-Related Concussions and Long-Term Cognitive Health

david-cohen-249124-copy-300x160Could a multi-vehicle accident caused by road rage and aggressive driving happen in Vista, California? According to a recent report from ABC News, a motorcyclist’s road rage and aggressive driving caused a serious crash around Santa Clarita. The collision involved a sedan and a pickup truck, and that pickup truck overturned as a result of the crash. The motorcyclist—who was caught on film by other drivers, fled the scene of the car accident. The incident should alerts drivers throughout Southern California to the serious risks associated with road rage and other forms of aggressive driving.

Details of the Road Rage Accident

According to report, the accident happened at approximately 5:45 a.m. on a recent weekday morning. While witnesses could not say precisely what started the altercation, those heading southbound on State Road 14 managed to film a motorcyclist who “appears to try to kick the sedan” the approaches on his right. As a result of the motorcyclist’s behavior, the “sedan veers to the left and briefly collides with the motorcyclist before losing control and crashing into the highway divider wall.”

andrew-branch-126761-copy-300x212Anyone in Oceanside who has used Roundup weed killer and developed cancer should know that this pesticide may be linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. According to a recent article in The New York Times, the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, might be a cause of cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is a branch of the World Health Organization (WHO), reported recently that glyphosate is “a probable carcinogen,” and it cited links between its use and the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

A number of individuals who have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma have filed a lawsuit against Monsanto, the maker of the pesticide. The product liability lawsuit alleges that Monsanto failed to warn consumers about the risks associated with using Roundup. What else should Oceanside residents know about the risks of Roundup and the possibility of a product defect claim?

Disagreement Over the Effects of Glyphosate

louis-moncouyoux-3620-copy-300x200If you are working at a job site in San Clemente, what kinds of protections can you expect from your employer to prevent a workplace injury? According to a recent article in Bloomberg BNA, there is a new safety rule in California that is designed to protect employees “from high heat in indoor workplaces.” What does the new rule require, and are employers currently obligated to abide by it?

Cal/OSHA Proposal Targets High Heat Workplaces and Heat Illness Prevention

Workplaces in San Clemente and throughout Southern California can be extremely hot in terms of temperature. Even in the winter months when the weather is slightly cooler, workers in many different industries still can be exposed to high temperatures that could result in heat illnesses, which can lead to more debilitating injuries. As the article explains, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has proposed a new rule that would require state employers to “implement a written heat illness prevention plan.” This heat illness prevention plan “could be part of a workplace’s already required illness and injury prevention program, which covers all types of risks.”