Our Sacramento injury lawyers work on behalf of people who are harmed by using products that should have been perfectly safe. Although it seems only fair that consumers should be compensated for such injuries, our personal injury attorneys know that product liability is law is complicated. This blog, from Sacramento injury lawyers at Sette Law, will address some important considerations in product liability and related injury.
Attorneys first explain that product liability laws may vary from one state to another but at least four principles are common. Our Sacramento personal injury lawyers look at each item and provide basic detail:
1. First, a plaintiff must show his or her personal injury attorney that real harm was done and losses were suffered. Our Sacramento liability lawyers know of many instances in which a product failed and threatened someone’s safety, but didn’t cause an actual injury. Our attorneys say an event like this would not meet this first requirement. But a product failure such as a broken leg caused by a non-working brakes on a new 10-speed bike, would likely meet this criteria. Medical evidence and costs of care should suffice to show loss and injury that attorneys could prove in court.
2. Our Sacramento product liability lawyers will also have to show the court the product was defective as a second requirement for liability. Attorneys know this can be a demanding requirement. Even in light of a verifiable personal injury, lawyers must determine if a product was defectively manufactured, designed or marketed. Let’s look at each category more closely. Our Sacramento injury lawyers explain that, in the case of defectively manufactured products, an error was made at the factory or somewhere in the manufacturing chain before the product was purchased and subsequently caused the injury. Attorneys must clearly identify the point of error to satisfy this criteria and strengthen the case for liability and personal injury.
3. Lawyers can also consider whether or not a product presented sufficient instructions or warnings to protect consumers. Our Sacramento liability attorneys explain that this is also referred to as potential ‘defective marketing.’ If, for example, a weed killing spray might cause eye injury or blindness but that danger is not addressed, a personal injury lawyer will seek to show there was a failure to provide warning and that failure caused the plaintiff’s injury.
4. An attorney representing an injured client may also determine that a product was defective before the manufacturing process. This would constitute a Design Defect and, according to our Sacramento personal injury lawyers, is often more difficult to prove than the aforementioned cases. Interestingly, this arena may play a role in the recent Takata airbag recalls and actions related to deaths and injury. Our liability lawyers suspect plaintiff’s counsel may look to some design flaw (such as the chemicals used to inflate bags) as a potential source of the defect. Our Sacramento personal injury attorneys follow this national case closely for developments that may influence how we adjudicate future claims of product liability.
Lawyers, however, also have experience with product liability cases that will not pass the test of any of the above criteria. If an individual was using a product in a fashion for which it was not clearly intended and was injured, an attorney may struggle to prove any product defect caused the personal injury. A lawyer, for example, would be skeptical of burns received when a woman using a hair curling iron to curl paper ribbon was burned when the paper caught fire. Our product liability lawyer would immediately know that using a hair curling iron on paper was not an intended use of the manufacturer. Further, a mainstream consumer would not use a hair curling iron on volatile paper and the manufacturer was under no requirement to make the product safe for use on paper.
But, Sacramento personal injury attorneys explain that this concept is contingent upon the specific use of a manufacturer’s product. Clearly, the above use is totally unrelated to the intended use. However, according to our liability lawyers, not all cases are so clear. Say you used a butcher knife meant for meat to cut through a head of cabbage. The blade snaps off and severs a finger. Personal injury lawyers could see this as reasonable use of a sharp knife, even if it was meant for meat and not cabbage, and claim product liability.
Lawyers Give Courtroom Confidence to Injured Plaintiffs
Sacramento personal injury attorneys know that product liability can be complicated for consumers to understand. But in addition, the challenge of standing up to a large company in court is significant for most of our plaintiff’s claiming a product injury. Our lawyers, unlike the average person, have significant experience in the courtroom setting. We have faced many corporate attorneys defending a manufacturer’s liability for personal injury. Attorneys may feel at home in a courtroom while our plaintiffs will likely feel intimidated.
Our Sacramento personal injury lawyers recognize just how daunting the experience can be, no matter how strong our plaintiff’s case for product injury. Our attorneys believe that part of our job is to explain the process, dynamics and details of product liability actions to the people we represent, so that we don’t add emotional stress to their physical injury. Our Sacramento personal injury lawyers find this is particularly true when injured individuals file cases against corporate giants. Naturally, most products are manufactured by big companies and it takes a special determination to face off in court over a defective product injury.
But lawyers know that judicial history shows the power of the individual in a court of law. Sacramento personal injury attorneys are well acquainted with “David vs Goliath” cases in which people prevailed over corporate power. When it comes to defective products – and our injury lawyers again refer to the flood of car recalls over the past 18 month – individuals are protected against irresponsible manufacturing and marketing of products that cause injury. Sacramento attorneys track national legal developments to support local clients in their bid to receive just compensation for injuries suffered due to a defective product.
Accident attorneys at Sette Law begin this blog with a sobering statistic: According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the number of people admitting they drove while drunk exceed the population of Texas. Our Sacramento injury lawyers say that number, 29.1 million people, shows the serious, often deadly results of driving under the influence. Because personal injury attorneys deal with the tragic outcomes of a Sacramento DUI accident, our lawyers compiled data from several sources to help educate our community.
Sacramento accident lawyers often represent people injured and, in the most severe cases, families filing a suit for wrongful death. Our attorneys know that losing a loved one because someone chose to drink and drive is an emotionally devastating event that causes unbearable loss. Consequently, our Sacramento wrongful death lawyers want to focus on prevention. First, our accident attorneys offer recent data from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and other organizations that track national DUI accidents.
The FBI reported in 2013 that 300,000 people drive while intoxicated per day. That alone is frightening, but Sacramento accident attorneys are even more concerned that just 4,000 of those offenders are arrested. It’s also common knowledge among law enforcement and Sacramento DUI accident attorneys that many (about 33 percent) of those arrested are repeat offenders. And, most of the fatalities caused in DUI accidents, our lawyers say, happen at night. According to a 2011 NHTSA study, 36 percent of crashes happened at night compared to eight percent during the day. Our Sacramento injury lawyers say the agency’s 2014 data indicates that 28 people die each day due to DUI accidents. Attorneys cite NHTSA’s 2013 survey showing that 290,000 people were injured and more than 10,000 died in DUI crashes that year. Our Sacramento accident lawyers say that MADD reports that their organizations across the U.S. help a survivor or victim of a DUI accident every 8.6 minutes.
Our Sacramento accident and injury attorneys believe statistics such as these should be common knowledge, but are not. When studies show that two out of three people will, in their lifetime, experience an accident in which alcohol played a role, Sacramento DUI lawyers say that everyone should be very worried.
Teenagers at High Risk in Sacramento
Accident attorneys encourage parents, schools and local communities to take a serious look at the statistics regarding teenage drinking. A study out of Michigan showed that nearly 50 percent of 10th graders and 30 percent of eighth-graders admit to drinking. Our Sacramento DUI attorneys also referenced another study published by the National Academies Press that concluded teenagers using alcohol played a role in 4,700 deaths a year. Particularly troubling, according to our Sacramento injury lawyers, is binge drinking by teens as highlighted in the study – while one out of six kids admits to binge drinking, only one out of 100 parents thinks their teen may indulge in this dangerous activity.
Sacramento DUI lawyers at Sette Law believe these high numbers indicate there is a serious problem with teen alcohol use in the nation and in Sacramento. Injury attorneys urge parents to be more involved and realistic about the pressures their teen may feel to drink alcohol. Our DUI lawyers know only too well the unspeakable family tragedy of a DUI accident.
Our injury attorneys add that it isn’t just the teenage years that show heightened risk. Young drivers in general seem vulnerable to drinking and driving accidents. Lawyers cite a 2011 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showing that the “rate of drunk driving is highest among 21-25 year olds.” Sacramento accident attorneys point out this study is supported by NHSTA data, showing a 32 percent rate of drunk driving for this approximate age group.
Education May Reduce DUI Accidents
Although our Sacramento DUI lawyers discourage the practice of drinking and driving, we feel it’s good for people to know more about how alcohol effects the body and brain. On average, people can metabolize about one drink per hour without alcohol playing a role in an accident. Our attorneys further explain that it’s not the kind of alcohol imbibed, but rather, how much is taken over a period of time. Sacramento accident and injury attorneys urge people to monitor alcohol consumption and to never risk an accident. Our attorneys add that people should be aware that nothing counteracts the effects of alcohol, other than time – not coffee, strenuous exercise or a cold shower will help to prevent a potentially deadly DUI accident.
Attorneys representing the victims and loved ones of a drunk driving accident know that alcohol dramatically effects the brain and, consequently, the body. Our Sacramento injury lawyers regularly call expert witnesses in DUI cases to attest to impacts such as slowed reaction time, impaired vision, and hazy thinking that lead to a DUI accident. Our attorneys say that alcohol damages neurons in the brain – affecting normal connections that impact judgment and lead to accidents. Attorneys know that alcohol can actually move from circulating in the blood to the brain. The changes caused can turn a normally cautious driver into one who is ripe for a DUI accident. Lawyers further add that teens are at even greater risk of harm because their brains are still developing. Essentially, our Sacramento accident and injury lawyers know from courtroom experience, that no one is immune from the effects of excessive alcohol consumption and the high risk of a vehicle accident.
Lawyers Look for Sobering Solutions
Although MADD has been an effective national leader in the fight against drunk driving, the organization can’t manage the threat alone. Our Sacramento DUI attorneys say that educators, community groups and parents must be part of the solution to prevent DUI accidents. Our lawyers say that drunk driving is a community problem, one that requires attention and participation from all quarters. It’s our hope that, as Sacramento wrongful death and accident attorneys, we can help increase awareness of the significant effects of driving under the influence. And, as parents, our Sacramento injury lawyers believe we must begin early and inside our own homes with education and support so that tomorrow’s teens will face a safer future behind the wheel.
Sacramento medical malpractice attorneys must have command of numerous and complex legal details regarding health care, hospitals and their employees, and the actions of specific physicians. At Sette Law in Sacramento, our malpractice lawyers must draw information from numerous disciplines and venues to establish an injury was caused due to a physician’s, a hospital’s or a hospital employee’s malpractice. Attorneys explain that each of these areas is governed by slightly different nuances and application of existing law regarding medical malpractice.
Injury lawyers, however, point out that in each case, a defendant will be required to prove four fundamental conditions in any malpractice action in Sacramento. Our personal injury attorneys will look first to establish the injured party has a mutually agreed upon, patient-doctor relationship. This is often simple to prove when individuals hire doctors and physicians agree to treat a patient in Sacramento. Malpractice lawyers may find that direct relationship is problematic if a defendant brings charges against, say, a consulting physician who did not have direct treatment responsibilities. Our Sacramento medical malpractice lawyers add that no person can claim such a relationship with a doctor whom they overheard dispensing medical information to another person. Although, personal injury lawyers usually have little trouble affirming the doctor-patient link, this relationship is fundamental (and not always clear) in any claim of malpractice.
Secondly, lawyers will seek to establish that a physician’s diagnosis or treatment regimen was, in fact, negligent. Again, our Sacramento personal injury lawyers say this factor can be more complicated than it appears. A defendant must show that another qualified doctor in the same circumstances would not have harmed the defendant in the same manner. However, our malpractice lawyers are quick to point out that this doesn’t mean the doctor has to be the best in his or her discipline. It’s not a test of physician quality but, rather, of a doctor demonstrating ‘reasonable skill and care.’ Our Sacramento malpractice attorneys say this can often be a ‘moving target’ of proof, with competing opinions about what constitutes a lack reasonable skill and care that leads to an injury.
Malpractice lawyers ordinarily will call in an expert witness to testify about this aspect of a Sacramento malpractice case. An attorney will ask the witness – who is ordinarily a physician in the same specialty as the plaintiff – about what the standard for care is and to comment on how the plaintiff’s care was below standard and how that care caused the alleged injury. Lawyers on both sides may debate these findings. Our Sacramento malpractice lawyers further report that this bar is particularly high for physicians in a medical specialty. Their extensive education and training raises the expectations for the standard of care in disciplines such as radiology, anesthesiology, internal medicine and other medical specialties.
Sacramento malpractice attorneys at Sette Law must also demonstrate a very clear link between the defendant’s alleged negligence and the plaintiff’s injuries – a challenge for plaintiffs who were suffering from an illness or injury prior to the defendant’s care. For example, if a patient has terminal cancer and dies in the midst of an operation, was it the procedure poorly done or the cancer causing the death? Malpractice lawyers must clearly establish that it was the actions of the physician that led to the fatality and not the presence of the disease. One again, the onus is on the Sacramento malpractice lawyer to ferret through medical testimony, literature and case files to establish the necessary link.
Finally, our Sacramento malpractice attorneys must show that the physician’s actions led to tangible harm and caused personal injury. Lawyers look to show physical pain and mental harm, and also consider the harm done because of medical costs and lost earnings. So, even if the plaintiff can demonstrate a doctor showed an unacceptably low standard of care, without real harm done, there is no malpractice.
Injury attorneys deal with a wide variety of malpractice cases. From news reports, the public may be aware of instances in which a sponge was left inside a patient’s body during a surgery, leading to additional harm and personal injury. Our lawyers may represent a client whose physician neglected to inform him or her that a prescription medication could cause cardiac arrest. Our Sacramento malpractice lawyers say that most of their cases involve improper treatment, a failure of a physician to properly diagnose and failing to inform patients of risks involved in procedures or treatments (including medications).
Sacramento personal injury attorneys say that, unlike some court actions, malpractice cases have a rather short statute of limitations. Since rules vary from state to state, the limits can be from six months to two years. Our Sacramento malpractice lawyers report that California requires that injured parties file actions within one year from when the date the injury was (or should have been) discovered to three years from the date it occurred. According to our personal injury attorneys, if an injured party in California files outside these limits the court will dismiss the claim – no matter how strong the evidence of medical malpractice.
Injury lawyers are also bound by California’s limits on damages awarded in cases of medical malpractice. Attorneys say the state has capped non-economic awards at $250,000 and a personal injury attorney cannot request an award beyond that amount. The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, (MICRA), passed in 1975, compensates victims for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, psychological damage and other damages that are hard to quantify in dollars and cents. Sacramento malpractice attorneys say many efforts to raise this cap have hit the ballot box over the decades. They point out that MICRA never addressed inflation and for 40 years the diminishing value of $250,000 has unfairly impacted victims of medical malpractice. But attorneys point out there is no cap on compensation for past and future medical care, on loss of income or a plaintiff’s earning ability because these matters are quantifiable as economic damages in medical malpractice.
Sacramento personal injury lawyers say this arena of law requires particular expertise and urge injured parties to seek experienced, legal representation.
At Sette Law, our Sacramento car accident lawyers watch in amazement as GM recalls continue to mount and some responsibility is shared with federal regulators. A spotlight now falls upon the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with allegations it was aware of some GM defects years before GM issued a nationwide recall that includes owners in Sacramento. Injury lawyers are concerned that NHTSA’s vigilance fell short of reporting failures in ignition switches that failed and cut off power to airbags in some GM models. Sacramento car accident lawyers have long looked to the NHTSA for reliable information about safety on the streets and freeways of Sacramento. Now, personal injury attorneys learn that a congressional report faults the agency for not making public their findings in 2007.
This revelation comes as GM recalls in 2014 mount to 39 million, impacting drivers everywhere, including Sacramento. Car accident lawyers at Sette Law note that the NHTSA continued to investigate crashes of GM cars related to faulty ignition switches without highlighting the issue until GM itself finally went public. Our Sacramento personal injury lawyers point out that an NHTSA deputy administrator claims GM cloaked problems by not using the term “defect” in its reporting to NHTSA about the switches. Nonetheless, Sacramento car accident lawyers understand that, as a government agency, the NHTSA has the responsibility of public trust and must live up to that for car owners in Sacramento.
Car accident lawyers also note that the NHTSA had also bestowed a “five Star” crash safety rating on the Chevy Cruze which was later recalled for airbag defects. This is not the quality of service expected of the NHTSA by drivers in Sacramento.
Injury Lawyers watch Settlement Challenge
Further complicating the GM saga is a recent court decision that was decided in favor of the family of a young woman killed in the 2010 crash of her Chevy Cobalt. Sacramento injury attorneys say the family had arrived at a settlement with GM a few months before the ignition switch defect was made public and recalls were launched. The recent lawsuit sought to overturn the settlement so that the family could move forward with legal action. According to our Sacramento injury lawyers, it was the family’s accident attorneys that hired an expert engineering firm to analyze the mechanics of the Cobalt switch. They discovered the switch had been redesigned to prevent failure, substantiating the family’s claim that GM was aware of the defect leading to their daughter’s death. The court agreed and, Sacramento car accident lawyers say the family is moving forward toward a trial that could impact similar claims in Sacramento. Our injury lawyers say that GM expressed disappointment with the court ruling and claimed they had made the earlier settlement “…in good faith.”
GM Fights to Minimize Liability
Parties suffering injury and loss due to GM defects should be aware that GM mounts its own defense against liability, according to Sacramento car accident lawyers at Sette Law. For example, the company refuses to accept responsibility for the death of a back seat passenger in the 2006 crash of a Cobalt. GM injury attorneys limit their liability only to the young woman driving the vehicle because the Cobalt had front seat, not back seat, airbags. Our Sacramento personal injury attorneys believe this corporate approach is grossly unfair to both families who loss of daughters is equal, regardless of where they were seated in the deadly accident caused by the ignition switch defect.
Victims and their families, according to Sacramento personal injury attorneys, will have to be prepared for a vigorous legal battle as GM seeks to minimize its costs and responsibility.
A popular member of the Stanislaus County Bicycling Club died Monday after being struck by a pick-up truck. According to the Modesto Bee, William Foltz, 73, was an easygoing man who “always rode with a smile on his face.” Foltz was in the right lane and put his hand out to signal before attempting to cross the left lane. Unfortunately, the lane was not clear and he was hit from behind. The investigation is ongoing, but the driver has not been cited.
Foltz’ accident underscores the hazards of bicycling. Despite the prevalence of bicycling on California roadways, many motorists fail to share the road with cyclists. Unfortunately, in car vs. bike accidents, the bicyclist often suffers serious injuries such as broken bones, brain injuries and head trauma.
Some simple safety tips can help reduce your risk of injury. These include:
• Always wear a helmet
• Wear bright colors
• Obey traffic controls
• Ride your bike near the right-hand edge of the road
• Use hand signals when turning or stopping
• Be careful when checking traffic
Although bicyclists need to take precautions, motorists have to do their part and allow bicyclists room to maneuver. As a result of this latest accident, some cyclists are calling for Modesto to enact a “3-foot rule” such as that adopted in other cities requiring drivers yield at least 3 feet to bicyclists on the road.
As a bicycling enthusiast and bike accident attorney, I support efforts to increase bike safety on California roadways. For more information, or if you or a loved one has been injured in a bike accident, please contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette.
News reports indicate that the manufacturer of Skoal and Copenhagen chewing tobacco has agreed to pay $5 million to the family of a man who died of cancer from chewing tobacco. This is thought to be the first wrongful deathsettlement in a chewing tobacco case.
Wrongful death actions can occur out of any personal injury matter as the result of the careless, negligent or intentional acts of another person or corporation. When a “wrongful death” occurs, the family and children of the victim may be able to recover compensation for their loss, including medical costs and future earnings.
Here, the family filed suit under a product liability theory, claiming that the company manufactured and sold a dangerous and defective product knowing that it causes addiction, disease and death in consumers who use it as intended.
If your family has suffered the loss of a loved one as the result of the careless or reckless actions of another, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information,contact The Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, dedicated to helping the injured for more than 15 years.
The mother of a boy who died at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge in Florida has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. A Disney bus passed and struck a 9-year-old boy, who was then pulled under the rear wheels.
Several issues are raised by this case that are relevant to accidents that occur in California. First, can an employer be held liable for the actions of its employees? In many situations, the answer is yes. However, it depends on the circumstances of each case.
Additionally, can the boy’s family still recover if he is found partly to blame? Here the Florida Highway Patrol states that the boy’s flat tire is to blame for the accident. California is a comparative negligence state. Thus, if the boy’s flat tire played a role in the accident, it may reduce the amount of recovery, but recovery will still be allowed if Disney, or the bus driver, is still found at fault.
Finally, the conditions of the road have been questioned. The lawsuit contends that pedestrians and bicyclists were often forced onto the roadway and unpaved wetlands to avoid others. Because of steep gullies and railing, people were unable to move to the interior. As a result, the party responsible for maintaining the road and sidewalk may also be at fault.
Tragic accidents often have many complicating factors that determine who is at fault and how much a family can recover. As a result, it crucial to contact a knowledgeable attorney who can thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding an event and help victims and their families obtain the compensation they deserve.
For more information, or if you have lost a loved one due to the recklessness or carelessness of another, contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, helping the injured throughout California for more than 15 years.
According to the Modesto Bee, two men have died as the result of a scuba diving accident at a Tuolumne County mine. Four men were diving at the old Jamestown Mine when two of them disappeared under the water. Although they were able to bring one of them to the surface, he subsequently died as the result of his injuries. The body of the other man has not yet been recovered.
Whenever tragic accidents occur, several questions of fault are raised. It is important to speak to an experiencedCalifornia personal injury attorney to determine your next steps.
Here, it is unknown why the men were scuba diving at the mine. The circumstances surrounding that decision are important. Further, it is unknown whether appropriate restrictions and warnings were in place surrounding the gold mine and whether the county allowed an unreasonably dangerous condition to exist on its property. Answering these questions is crucial to maintaining a lawsuit.
When accidents happen, an experienced California personal injury lawyer understands the issues involved and will conduct a thorough investigation into all the factors at play and determine the best steps for obtaining compensation in your matter.
For more information, or if you or a loved one has been harmed in a California accident, please contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, dedicated to helping those injured by the carelessness or recklessness of others.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the families of two 20-year-old patients who died last year from prescription drug overdoses have filed separate wrongful death lawsuitsagainst a doctor accused of illegally prescribing painkillers. The medical malpractice lawsuits allege that Dr. Lisa Tseng prescribed powerful and addictive drugs to patients who later died from the medication. Tseng has been linked to ten drug deaths.
Ryan Winter of Aliso Viejo died five days after his last prescription in July 2010 and Riley Russo of Laguna Niguel died in December.
According to the lawsuits, Dr. Tseng prescribed Opana, a powerful narcotic, and Xanax to the patients with little examination or reason. She also failed to obtain a proper medical history or refer the patients to specialists. The lawsuits further allege that Tseng has earned a reputation for her willingness to prescribe narcotics knowing they will be used for recreational purposes.
Under California law – the Drug Dealer Liability Act – families may file a lawsuit against anyone in the chain of improperly obtained drugs. The lawsuit also alleges medical negligence and intentional and negligent misrepresentation.
In addition to the families’ lawsuits, Tseng is also being accused of gross negligence by the Osteopathic Medical Board of California. Undercover investigators have determined that Tseng routinely prescribed large amounts of powerful drugs such as Percocet, Opana and codeine without proper examination.
If you have any questions concerning medical care and believe that a loved one has received a prescription in error – either for recreational use or as the result of medical malpractice – consult with a California medical malpractice attorney immediately. For more information, please contact the dedicated Stockton wrongful death lawyers at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette for a confidential consultation.