San Jose California Personal Injury Legal Blog

Woman arrested following fatal crash in Tulare County

The term “car accident” is used to describe collisions between vehicles on San Jose’s streets because most such incidents are indeed accidents in which the people that caused them had no intention of causing harm. While that may have little impact on the devastating outcomes that such accidents can produce, it may affect the attitudes of those involved. However, when one acts so recklessly as to show an indifference towards the safety of others, then the decision of whether or not to seek legal action following an accident that such a person causes may be an easy one for accident victims to make. 

Such indifference seems to have been on fully display in a fatal car accident that recently occurred in Tulare County. A woman was reportedly driving her SUV the wrong way on Highway 65 when she came across two motorcycles (each carrying both a driver and a passenger). She struck both vehicles, killing all of the occupants. She was also taken to a local hospital for treatment, but was later released. Subsequent testing showed that she was intoxicated at the time of the accident, and she was also reportedly driving with a suspended license. She now faces multiple criminal charges. 

How often are work zones a factor in car accidents?

California sees its fair share of construction projects, and while road construction can make an already congested highway even more of a pain, it can also potentially place your life in danger. Unfortunately, road construction is not going away anytime soon, so the more you understand about the risks work zones present, the better.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, while road fatalities outside of construction zones have decreased nationwide, road fatalities within construction zones are on the rise.

Defining the duty of care of property owners

Like most in San Jose, you understand that when you own property, you are responsible for whatever happens on it. The issue of liability for any accidents or injuries that occur on your land or in your home, however, can often be very complex. Many have come to us here at Shea & Shea - A Professional Law Corporation asking whether any issues that occur on their properties are automatically their fault, or whether or not personal responsibility on the part of the injured party plays a role. If you have the same question, then it is important that you understand your duty of care as a property owner. 

Section 1001 of California's Civil Jury Instructions show that you must exercise reasonable care in identifying and repairing, replacing or offering a warning of any potential hazards that exist on your property. If someone is injured on your property, the court considers the following factors when assigning blame: 

  • The likelihood that someone would enter on to your property in the manner the injured party did
  • The likelihood of any conditions existing on your property could cause harm (and the potential extent of that harm)
  • Whether you should have reasonably known of the potential risks posed by such a condition
  • The extent of control you had over the condition ever arising in the first place
  • The difficulty in protecting others from said condition

What is the attractive nuisance doctrine?

You may wish you could follow your kids around whenever they left your home, yet that is simply not possible. There will inevitably be times when they are encountered with scenarios in San Jose where they would benefit from your judgment and supervision, yet you are not there to provide it. Fortunately, the law places the responsibility on others to protect your children from certain dangers that could potentially cause them harm. 

A legal principle exists known as the attractive nuisance doctrine. The Cornell Law School defines it as a form of liability placed on property owners in the event that artificial conditions on their land injure children. The attractive nuisance doctrine account for the fact that children (especially young children) do not comprehend the dangers a feature present; rather, they simply view it as an attraction. The property owners on which these attractions are found are thus asked to protect children from them by restricting access to them. 

Are school buses required to have seat belts?

When you send your child off to school, you naturally assume that he or she will be safe on the journey. However, many parents have concerns about seat belts on school buses and whether kids should be obligated to use them at all times. The New York Times offers more insight into this controversial topic. 

While there has been a push for seat belts in all school buses in recent years, only a handful of states have laws in place making this essential safety feature mandatory. California is just one state, along with New York, Florida, Texas, Nevada, Arkansas, New Jersey, and Louisiana. In some cases, buses are exempt if funding is not available to cover the conversion to new buses or the installation of seat belts. Even if a bus does feature seat belts, most states don't require kids to wear them at all times.  

State sees multi-year increases in truck accident deaths

In 2017, California recorded a slight dip in the number of people who died in motor vehicle accidents. That year, 3,602 accident fatalities were recorded statewide compared to 3,837 in 2016. However, when looking at the number of deaths that resulted from accidents involving tractor-trailers or other large trucks, the story is different. The number of truck accident deaths in 2017 rose for the fourth consecutive year.

Between 2013 and 2017, vehicular fatalities involving large trucks increased every year from 259 in 2013 to 361 in 2017. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, there were 301, 305 and 354 deaths, respectively. This is a concerning trend, especially as the federal government has implemented new regulations designed to address trucker fatigue during this period of time. A new database focusing on substance abuse has also been in the works to prevent or crack down on impaired driving by truckers.

Recovering for loss of consortium in California

Like many of your neighbors, friends and family members, you have found the perfect person with whom to enjoy your life. If your spouse or domestic partner suffers a serious injury or dies, you may experience an unfillable void. Fortunately, California law may allow you to pursue compensation from whoever is responsible for your loved one’s injury or death. 

As you probably know, the law is full of terms that seem somewhat archaic. If you are not a lawyer, the words “loss of consortium” may mean nothing to you. Put simply, though, if you have a successful loss of consortium claim, you receive compensation for the intimacy, companionship and moral support you lose after a spouse or domestic partner suffers a serious injury or dies. To recover for loss of consortium in California, you must prove all of the following four elements: 

Facts about traumatic brain injuries

Many people in California have likely heard reports about incidents in which a person experiences trauma to their head. Some of these events can result in what is called a traumatic brain injury. As explained by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, a TBI is a special type of injury that is marked by a disruption in the brain's ability to function normally

A traumatic brain injury might be temporary or short-term or it may end up being severe. In the case of a severe TBI, a person often ends up with lifelong challenges or limitations due to the injury. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most mild TBIs are concussions that are characterized by a temporary loss of consciousness or altered mental state but that do not result in the presence of any negative, long-term symptoms.

How might concussions result in hearing loss?

Brain damage is one of the most common concerns when someone suffers a concussion, and while brain injury is perhaps the most thought of consequence from a blow to the head, a concussion can cause lasting harm to a person in other ways, such as negatively impacting a person’s ability to hear. This kind of damage can be temporary or permanent, and can drastically impact your quality of life in San Jose, California.

Everyday Hearing explains that hearing damage from a concussion can take different forms. A head blow can injure the ear or the pathways that transmit auditory stimuli to the brain. Bones inside the middle ear may take damage or become dislocated. A concussion can also rupture an eardrum. The membranes or the tissues that make up the inner ear might be damaged. Additionally, the cochlear nerve could suffer ischemia.

Helping your loved one communicate after a TBI

When you receive the call that your loved one has been involved in a serious accident that has resulted in a catastrophic brain injury, you may immediately think the worst. It will undoubtedly take time for your family member to recover from his or her injury and a full recovery may be impossible depending on the severity of the accident. At Shea & Shea, we have helped many victims of traumatic brain injuries in California.

One of the areas of function that may have been readily affected by your loved one's accident and subsequent injury is his or her ability to communicate. According to brainline.org, you may notice several changes to the level of effectiveness with which your loved one is able to communicate including the following:

  • Trouble figuring out how to begin or carry on a conversation. 
  • Inability to understand what is being said in a conversation including the ability to follow along.
  • Slurring, getting words mixed up or speaking too quickly and loudly. 
  • Mix-ups with which words to use to describe what it is that they want to say.
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Shea & Shea - A Professional Law Corporation
2007 West Hedding Street
Suite 100
San Jose, CA 95128

Phone: 888-989-7432
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