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Articles Posted in Personal Injury

If your family is harmed in a serious accident, there are many hurdles you must clear to achieve a full and fair recovery through litigation. You must be able to prove exactly how extensively you and your family have been harmed. However, before you do that, you first have to choose correctly when it comes to naming a defendant in your case. Sometimes, the question of who was at fault may be murky. When that happens you and your legal team need to be sure you correctly assessed the situation and correctly identified the party (or parties) legally culpable. Naming the wrong defendants can delay or reduce your recovery, or possibly can lead to total defeat in your case. For making essential choices like this, be sure to rely on representation from an experienced San Mateo premises liability attorney.

A terrible accident in Southern California was an example of naming the right defendant and eventually obtaining a beneficial result for the family harmed in the accident. A.P., a 2-year-old girl playing at the Linda Vista Children’s Center, suffered massive injuries when a 20-foot eucalyptus tree branch fell and struck her. Her injuries injured a fractured neck, a cracked skull, a brain injury and a fractured leg, according to ABC 7.

When a child is seriously hurt in an accident, while she may be the only one physically injured by the incident, she may not be the only one harmed by it. That was the case for this California family. The girl’s mother told ABC 7 that both she and the girl’s father had to quit their jobs as the little girl required around-the-clock care.

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Many people injured in auto accidents, dog attacks, trip-and-fall accidents and slip-and-fall accidents resolve their cases by settling instead of proceeding to a verdict. Settlement may offer you the opportunity to acquire much-needed financial compensation without the stress and time that must be invested in pursuing a case all the way to a verdict. Your settlement will almost certainly come with a settlement agreement, which will probably contain some limitations about what you and your opponent can and cannot say about your case. It is very important to have a skilled San Mateo injury attorney by your side and that you understand and follow those contractual requirements. And, if your opponent does not follow them, then you may be entitled to recover additional compensation for your opponent’s breach of the contract.

Here’s an example from Southern California. E.L. and M.J. were neighbors in Los Angeles County. The neighbors’ legal battle began after E.L.’s dog killed M.J.’s cat. Each neighbor hired an attorney and, ultimately, the two neighbors agreed to a settlement where the dog owner paid the cat owner $2,000. The settlement agreement also contained a clause that said that neither neighbor was allowed to disparage the other.

Sometime after the two neighbors signed the agreement, E.L. posted a “hostile message” about M.J. on the website Nextdoor.com. M.J. then responded by suing E.L. (again.) This time, he sued for defamation, as well as breach of contract.

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When you are suing someone in a trip-and-fall accident, it is important that the defect that tripped you up not be so slight that the law defines it as “trivial.” That means that the defect was so minor or small that a reasonable person would have been able to navigate it without harm. If you can overcome this “trivial defect” argument hurdle, then you have an enhanced chance of getting your day in court to prove your case and recover compensation. To make sure you are clearing the “trivial defect” and all other hurdles, be sure you have a skilled San Mateo trip and fall attorney working on your behalf.

A pair of cases illustrate each side of this legal coin. M.M. was successful in her premises liability lawsuit because of the strong evidence she had, while C.H. was not successful in his case.

M.M. overcame the “trivial defect” argument in her case against a hotel due to her evidence regarding size. In some cases, California courts have held that defects as small as ½ inch were not trivial and allowed the injured person to proceed to trial. However, cases with defects of less than 1” often have a greater chance of overcoming this “trivial defect” hurdle if there are special or “aggravating” circumstances, like broken or jagged concrete edges, cracks or potholes.

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Too many times, people associate “slip-and-fall” accidents in a negative way. If this type of harm has never affected you, you may think of these accidents as ones involving trivially injured people exaggerating their injuries. The reality is actually very different. Slip-and-fall accidents often are very seriously harmful things. According to statistics published by the CDC, accidental falls were the #1 cause of injuries requiring hospital ER treatment in 2017. At almost 8.6 million incidents, the number of these falls was almost equal to the second, third and fourth causes combined.

Sounds pretty far from trivial, doesn’t it? So, the next time you’re hurt in a slip-and-fall, don’t dismiss it as nothing. Get the medical care necessary to protect your health and then get the legal representation you need to protect your rights by contacting an experienced San Mateo premises liability attorney.

J.P. was someone who suffered an obviously serious injury in a fall. While at an Asian buffet restaurant in Los Angeles County, J.P. went to the restroom. On his way back to his seat, J.P. slipped, fell and shattered his left knee in multiple places. After the accident, J.P. sued the restraint for premises liability. (Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC659957.)

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As you may know if you’ve attended certain events, property owners and event organizers sometimes may seek to use forms with titles like “release and waiver of liability” to limit their possibility of having pay damages for injury accidents that occur on their properties. If you are someone entering a property whose owner is requiring such a form, it is extremely important to make sure you understand exactly what you’re signing before you sign it.

However, even if you did sign, even if it is enforceable and even if it is broad in its coverage, that doesn’t mean that you are completely without options if you’re hurt while on that property. A recent ruling in a Northern California accident case is a good reminder that possibilities for success in a premises liability case can still exist, even in the face of a signed waiver. To discover what options you have for recovering the compensation you need, talk to an experienced San Mateo personal injury attorney right away.

The injured person in that recent accident case was G.V., an attendee at a two-day motorcycle race held in a remote part of San Benito County. He was there to watch his grandson participate in the race. When the grandfather and grandson entered, race organizers had each man sign a “Release and Waiver of Liability” form.

California law is quite clear about the responsibility that property owners have toward people legally on their property. The statutes here say that “Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury … to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property.” When you are injured in a trip-and-fall accident, there are several key pieces to the “puzzle” of a successful legal action. One is proof of a legitimate hazard. Another is evidence that the person or entity responsible for the property failed to fix the problem, despite the fact that it knew or should have known the hazard existed.

There are many different ways to achieving this proof burden, but it comes down to obtaining the right evidence. To make sure you are getting all the evidence you need and that it is being put together into one coherent and persuasive case, be sure to rely on the skill and experience of a knowledgeable San Mateo injury attorney.

An example of how this process can work successfully was the recent case of A.N. (Yolo County Superior Court Case. No. CVPO-2017-916). Reportedly, A.N. suffered serious injuries in a trip-and-fall accident at her senior living apartment complex in West Sacramento. One day, while exiting the complex’s clubhouse, 80-year-old A.N. used a ramp to walk back to her apartment. A concrete parking block was situated at the base of the ramp. The resident tried to pass through this area, but she tripped. In the fall, she suffered a broken wrist, crushed patella and a “burst” fracture to one of her thoracic vertebrae.

When you are injured on the property of someone else, that person or that person’s insurance company may be well-represented by attorneys, who stand ready to make clever arguments that creatively use the law to try to get the defendant out of paying you any compensation. To make sure you are equipped to succeed in your injury case, you need an experienced San Mateo premises liability attorney who knows the law well and knows how to advocate for you and get results.

What do we mean by “creative” uses of the law? Here’s an example. E.H. was a man working as a “site representative” giving tours of a notable architectural residence in Beverly Hills when he was hurt in the fall of 2014. During his fateful tour, the representative fell from a platform that was “suspended over a hillside.” The fall caused E.H. to suffer very serious injuries, including multiple spinal fractures, from which he allegedly suffered more than $2 million in damages.

E.H. sued. When you sue someone in civil court, you will present your evidence showing that the defendant was liable and that you suffered compensable harm. The defense will present its evidence, including bringing up any affirmative defenses, which are things that the defense affirmatively pleads and, if accepted by the jury, make the defendant not liable.

The law in California clearly obliges property owners/occupiers to keep their properties “reasonably safe.” As part of that duty, the law requires property owners/occupiers to inspect their properties and ascertain the condition of those properties. If a dangerous condition exists that would have been discovered as a result of a reasonable inspection, then the property owner/occupier is required by the law to fix it or to warn users of the property of its existence. If the owner doesn’t, and a guest on the property is injured, then that may give the injured person the opportunity to obtain compensation through a premises liability lawsuit. To learn more about this and other legal options possibly available to you, make certain you to contact a knowledgeable California injury attorney.

While many premises liability cases are slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents, those are not the only varieties. For example, take the case of C.S. The facts that led to C.S.’s lawsuit sound like something that might come from a Hollywood horror movie. C.S. was out on a Napa County golf course in June 2013, taking a lesson from one of the club’s instructors. The golfer was preparing for a shot on the fifth hole when a swarm of yellow jackets attacked her. The instructor tried to swat the insects away, to no avail. The pair ran the length of one and one-half football fields before the yellow jackets stopped chasing and attacking. All told, the golfer got stung in excess of 50 times.

C.S. was transported to a nearby fire station. On the way, she began losing consciousness. Paramedics met her outside and gave her a shot. One paramedic declared that C.S. had been “within fifteen seconds” of dying. She spent the night in a hospital ICU and missed five weeks of work.

In any type of personal injury case, you must present several things in order to achieve a successful outcome and obtain the damages award you need. One of these items is proof that the person or entity that you sued had a legal duty toward you. When it comes to a duty, it is important to understand how such a duty can arise. Some people always have certain duties toward others, in accordance with established law. Other times, a person or entity can develop a duty based upon the actions they took. In many situations, an entity maybe liable not so much because they started out owing the plaintiff a duty but because once they undertook an action, they became legally duty-bound to do that act in a non-negligent manner (but failed to do so). If you have been injured and think it was the result of someone else’s negligence, be sure to consult an experienced California injury attorney.

As an example of how this can work and how an injured person can achieve a valuable result, there’s the case of E.Z., which was reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. E.Z. was a 36-year-old woman taking her two daughters out for a walk one August day in 2016. The trio headed to San Francisco’s North Beach district and, specifically, to the playground at the historic Washington Square Park. The large park offers many benefits to guests, but unfortunately offered peril to this mom. As she and the children walked, a 50-foot pine tree shed a 100-pound branch. The branch fell several feet before crashing into E.Z. The mother suffered a fractured skull and a severed spinal cord. The severe injuries she suffered resulted in permanent paralysis from the waist down, the Chronicle reported.

In E.Z.’s case, she asserted that the city and county were negligent in the pruning and maintenance of the park’s trees. Specifically, she asserted that the method of pruning the city and county used tended to lead to “large, weakly attached branches” growing back, according to the report. She had evidence that there were problems with similar large falling branches in 2008. In 2010, an assessment concluded that the parks department only took action after reports from the public, and never engaged in pro-active maintenance. All that, along with E.Z.’s other evidence, was enough to build a viable case of negligence against the city and county.

Premises liability lawsuits cases can include slip-and-fall accidents, trip-and-fall accidents and several other varieties of injuries suffered while a person was on the property of someone else. In many circumstances, slip-and-fall accidents may take place because the operator of a commercial business fails to keep its floors sufficiently clean. As a result, when you pursue a slip-and-fall injury accident case against a merchant, you have to show that the business’ policies and practices it had in place for inspecting and cleaning its floors were not reasonable. If you’ve suffered an injury in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident in Northern California, you should contact an experienced San Mateo injury attorney to provide you with representation in your case.

M.J. was a shopper injured in a slip-and-fall accident. M.J. was shopping at a discount supermarket when she allegedly slipped and fell due to a patch of liquid on the floor of the store. As a result, she sued the supermarket.

In this situation, as with many accident cases, expert witnesses can be an important component of the case. These individuals can often provide powerful evidence that, if the court finds it persuasive, will go a long way toward influencing the outcome. In M.J.’s case, the supermarket provided an expert who testified that the merchant’s system – which involved sweeping the floor once an hour – was a reasonable method for dealing with hazards like spilled liquids. M.J. also had an expert. The shopper’s expert testified that the store’s practices were not adequate and, on top of that, the store’s floor was unreasonably slippery when wet.