Picture of Zev Rubinstein
Picture of Zev Rubinstein
Picture of Zev Rubinstein
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bike wheelA California Appeals court recently entered a somewhat routine decision in a car accident case, but the ultimate holding may take some Californians by surprise. In the case, a bicyclist was involved in an accident with a car, which apparently caused injuries (the appellate decision did not discuss the actual claims in the case).

On the day of the accident, the plaintiff was involved in a car accident when his bicycle collided with the vehicle being driven by the defendant. The plaintiff stated that he could not remember what happened on the day of the collision. He could not recall what he saw or what color the light was just before the accident happened. However, the driver of the vehicle and two witnesses at the scene stated that the plaintiff’s bicycle entered the intersection on a red light, and the car had a green light when the driver entered the intersection. Thus, when the plaintiff filed a personal injury action against the car’s driver and its two owners, the trial court granted a motion for summary judgment on behalf of the defendants.

Regarding the evidence in the case, one of the witnesses stated that he had entered the crosswalk before noticing a bicyclist approaching very quickly and then entering the intersection, resulting in the accident. On the basis of this witness’ account, as well as the driver’s statement and the other witness’ statement, the police officer who responded to the accident stated his opinion that the bicyclist was responsible for the accident, and the trial court adopted that conclusion.

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The constantly expanding amount of information on the internet provides a staggering amount of statistics regarding tractor trailer accidents, both in California and nationwide.truck

Recently, the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health issued a press release out of San Diego, announcing its report of the “Dirty Dozen” most dangerous employers for 2017. The coalition represents 21 affiliates in 15 states, and its mission is to promote workplace safety. Of the 12 companies included in the report, three have their headquarters in California. One of the dozen included a company responsible for some 10 percent of traffic in the Los Angeles area, according to the report. It was included for various reasons, including the death of one of its drivers during a truck accident.

A related report released recently by the Bureau of Labor statistics found that 745 drivers suffered fatal injuries in the year in which the data was reported, which was reportedly the most of any occupation.

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Cases involving injuries due to asbestos inhalation have been in the news a lot lately, as individuals exposed to the material over a long period of time have begun to show symptoms. In one such case, the plaintiff alleged that his father was exposed to asbestos from the defendants’ products during the time when he repaired brakes and clutches for his employer. The plaintiff also alleged that he was secondarily exposed to asbestos when he visited the father at work, doing things such as sweeping piles of dust from the repairs, and also when the father would return home with dust on his clothing, which was washed with the family clothing.

asbestos

The plaintiff was secondarily (para-occupationally) exposed to the same asbestos when he visited the father at work and when the father inadvertently carried asbestos to the family home or vehicle after work. As a result of this asbestos exposure, the plaintiff suffered from or had an increased risk of contracting serious injuries, including mesothelioma. He brought causes of action for negligence, breach of implied warranty, strict products liability based on design and manufacturing defects, fraud and failure to warn, and conspiracy to defraud and failure to warn. The defendants filed separate motions for summary judgment, each arguing that the plaintiff did not have and could not obtain evidence to prove his claims.

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XrayIn a decision filed just last month, a California Appeals court entered their decision regarding a personal injury case.

The case arose out of a car accident whereby the plaintiff was purportedly rear-ended by the defendant. According to testimony, the accident occurred when the defendant’s foot accidentally slipped off the brake temporarily, while he attempted to reach an item that had fallen to the floor. After pulling over to assess the damage to their vehicles, both drivers ascertained negligible damage to their vehicles, no emergency services or tow vehicles were called, and the plaintiff did not exhibit any signs of injury. After exchanging insurance information, the two individuals drove off in their own vehicles.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant. The defendant answered, admitting liability for the collision and property damage, which had been paid, but denying that the accident had caused the plaintiff to suffer any damages. The issues of damages and causation went to a jury, and the ultimate verdict was in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff appealed, claiming that the testimony of the defendant’s designated medical expert was improper.

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A California Appeals Court ruled earlier this year in a case that touched upon the various legal claims that can be involved in personal injury cases.

The plaintiff was a member of the fitness chain 24 Hour Fitness. On one occasion while exercising, he used a “hack squat” machine. The health club had two of the machines, one that had a safety catch and one that did not. On the day of the incident, the plaintiff was using the machine, and his legs became tired, so he was unable to return the weight to the required height. Since the machine he was using did not have a catch, the weights descended too low for comfort, causing the plaintiff to suffer an injury.

The plaintiff filed suit against the maker of the machine, the health club, and other affiliated entities, alleging products liability claims based upon negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty in addition to claims for premises liability and negligence.

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A California Appeals Court recently reached a decision in a car accident case clarifying the extent to which a defendant can require a plaintiff to submit to a particular kind of examination during the course of a personal injury lawsuit. The case involved a lower court’s decision to allow the defendant to have the plaintiff undergo a vocational rehabilitation examination during the course of evidence gathering, called discovery, so that the defendants’ expert could reach an opinion as to whether and to which extent the plaintiff could pursue gainful employment.car accident

The underlying incident occurred in November 2012 when the plaintiff was delivering packages at a university in his capacity as an employee of On Trac. As he was delivering packages from his parked truck, the car owned by one of the co-defendants, which was parked by the other co-defendant, an employee of the university (later added as an additional defendant), purportedly rolled down a hill and struck the plaintiff. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff sustained multiple fractures to his right femur and pelvis, requiring surgery. At the time of the decision, he had not returned to work since the accident.

In September 2013, the plaintiff filed suit against the owner of the car and the individual who had been driving the car that day. He later amended his complaint to add the university as a defendant. The plaintiff sought compensatory damages for wage loss and loss of earning capacity, among other claims.

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In a decision published at the end of last month, E.M. v. Lounge, Cal. Ct. App. (2017), a California appeals court clarified the reach of the liability of venues for serving alcohol to patrons who later become injured as a result of intoxication. The clarification, however, was not based solely upon the claim that the furnishing of the alcohol was responsible for the resultant accident. Instead, the claim was based on a respondeat superior theory of law. Respondeat superior is a legal concept whereby an employer can be held accountable for the negligent acts of its employee, if the conduct occurred within the scope of the employment.

liquor bottlesIn the case, a woman had reportedly consumed alcohol that was furnished by the defendant “Lounge.” She was then involved in a car accident and died. Her family brought the wrongful death lawsuit on her behalf. The initial complaint and second amended complaint pursued negligence theories, but the third amended complaint included a respondeat superior claim against the Lounge, asserting that the decedent was an employee at the Lounge and that it was during the course of her attendance as an employee that she had consumed excessive amounts of alcohol. The defendant moved for a demurrer, claiming that the argument should not be allowed, since the claimants should have known when they originally filed the lawsuit whether or not the decedent was an employee, and further disputing that she was at all.

Generally speaking, California law provides extensive protection against civil liability for injuries that occur due to a person who has consumed alcohol. State law explicitly states that “the furnishing of alcoholic beverages is not the proximate cause of injuries resulting from intoxication, but rather the consumption of alcoholic beverages is the proximate cause of injuries.” (Civ. Code, § 1714, subd. (b).) Therefore, by law, the Lounge could not be held liable for serving the decedent alcohol because the serving of the alcohol was not the cause of the accident.

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Sandblasting1-199x300Last month, a California Appeals Court issued an updated opinion on the Component Parts Doctrine, a lesser discussed area of products liability law.

Procedural History

In the case, Uriarte v. Scott Sales Co., Cal. Ct. App. (2nd App. Dist., 1st Div. 2017), the plaintiff sued Scott Sales Co. and J.R. Simplot Company, and other defendants. The plaintiff alleged that the silica sand procured from the defendants by his employer was used as a sandblasting material, which resulted in the production of airborne toxins that caused him to develop interstitial pulmonary fibrosis and other illnesses.

The defendants moved for judgment on the pleadings on the basis of the component parts doctrine. The component parts doctrine states that, “the manufacturer of a component part is not liable for injuries caused by the finished product into which the component has been incorporated unless the component itself was defective and caused harm.”

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Carlsbad CA personal injury lawyer

We know that in the aftermath of a serious personal injury, the prospect of finding an injury lawyer isn’t easy. There are many attorneys in the Carlsbad area, and if you don’t have any experience in the legal system, it can be tough to choose from among them. How will you make this difficult but important decision?

Fortunately, while choosing an injury lawyer is important, you can do so by keeping a few simple factors in the front of your mind at all times. The Rubinstein Law Group recommends you consider the following factors when choosing an injury lawyer:

  • Experience is the most important consideration. Always choose an injury lawyer with ample experience in the field – there is simply no substitute for this.
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Carlsbad Car Accident LawyerIf you’re like many Carlsbad-area residents, you love Thanksgiving. It’s a chance to enjoy some delicious food and some invaluable family time. It’s also a holiday that often calls for a lot of time on the road.

And this is where a great holiday can become a little dangerous. Our car accident lawyers have handled entirely too many cases that occurred over the Thanksgiving holiday. There’s a reason the police are often on high alert around Thanksgiving.

You don’t have to be a victim. You’re never fully in control on the road, but there are still a few things you can do around Thanksgiving to protect yourself while in your car: