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Landowners - And Their Employees - Responsible For Negligent Conduct In National Parks

In a recent decision, the California Supreme Court held that National Park and other recreational workers must ensure the safety of visitors, or be found liable for their actions.

The impact of this holding could have far-reaching implications throughout California - including in National Parks such as Yosemite and Muir Woods - and across the country.

In Klein v. US, a bicyclist was riding through the Angeles National Forest when he struck head-on by a car driven by a volunteer working for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. He was seriously injured in the collision.

At issue was whether a landowner owes a responsibility to those on its land for recreational purposes. Here - the landowner is the United States government. After extensive review, and based on the plain language of the statute at issue (Civil Code Section 846) the Court determined that landowners may be held liable for the negligent conduct of their employees - including vehicular negligence. The Court rejected the United States' argument that the landowners were shielded from liability for negligent acts because they were on Federal Property. Rather, the Court was swayed by California's "strong interest in promoting the safe driving of motor vehicles and in preventing or minimizing personal injuries from motor vehicle accidents."

As a California personal injury attorney, I strongly support this decision. When an individual suffers serious injuries due to the negligence of another, they should be entitled to recover damages. Hopefully this decision will lead to greater protection and safety to the hundred of thousands of individuals who enjoy our National Parks each year.

Sacramento County Sets Up Checkpoint To Eliminate Boating Accidents

The Sacramento Bee reports that in order to decrease the number of boating accidents in Lake County and throughout the Sacramento County area, the Lake County Sheriff's Marine Patrol will set up a boating under the influence (BUI) checkpoint this Saturday, July 24 on Clear Lake.

The Marine Patrol aims to reduce alcohol -related accidents and enforce boating laws on Clear Lake. At the checkpoint, boaters will be asked some brief questions. Boat operators will be detained longer for testing if they show signs of intoxication or impairment.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports that in 2008, alcohol use was the leading contributor to boating accidents, and the leading factor in 17% of fatalities.

Alcohol has been shown to seriously impair boater's vision, which in turn may lead to serious accidents. Recreational boaters are often less experienced on the water than drivers on the highway, and their lack of experience is exacerbated by alcohol use.

The USCG suggests bringing non-alcoholic beverages on board, keeping plenty of food and snacks and avoiding excessive fatigue.

Although alcohol is a leading contributor to boating accidents, other factors play a role including excessive speed, driver distractions and reckless conduct. 

For more information on boating safety, or if you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, please contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette.

Vacaville Motorcycle Accident Ends Tragically

According to the Contra Costa Times, a Vacaville man has died as the result of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident over the weekend.

The specific reasons that caused the man to lose control of the motorcycle and leave the roadway are unknown. He suffered serious injuries as the result of the crash and died shortly thereafter.

Too often, motorcycle crashes end in serious injuries and death. Little protection separates the driver from the road. Whether the man in this tragic accident was wearing a helmet in this instance has not been reported. However, helmets remain one of the top safety precautions a motorcyclist can take to prevent serious head and brain trauma and other life threatening injuries.

Other motorcycle safety tips include:

• Avoid distracted driving

• Be aware of changing road conditions

• Pay attention to your body position on the motorcycle

• Maintain your motorcycle's condition

For more information, or if you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, please contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, a personal injury attorney dedicated to keeping California motorcyclists safe.