Law Office of Frederick J. Sette
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Things to do after a car crash.

1. First of all, try to not panic. In that type of a situation, cooler heads prevail, and the more you’re able to deal with the situation, I think the better off you’ll be.

2. Secondly, ensure the safety of yourself and others. In California, if you’re driving down the freeway, there are signs there that say if you’re involved in a minor fender-bender, please move to the side of the freeway. And that’s good advice. It it’s situation where your vehicle is drivable, if you can move it, I would move it out of harm’s way. In other words, if you’re staying in the middle of the freeway, you’re out of a vehicle, cars are going by, there’s a high likelihood, a distinct chance that something else might happen, an another vehicle may hit you. So by ensuring the safety of yourself and others, if you can, move the vehicle out of any harm’s way.

3. Photographs are a good idea, if you get a chance before moving your vehicle, take photographs. All of us have phones now that you can pull out and take photos of pretty much anything, high quality photos. Take a photo of the damage to the vehicle, take a photo of the positions of the vehicle, take photo of the damage to your vehicle, all of these will help in the event there’s a dispute to what actually happened.

4. Calling the police is a good idea, CHP a lot of times in the event there is no major injury they won’t come out, they won’t take a report. So you want to exchange all information with the other party. Most significantly, if there is somebody that saw the accident, comes up to you and says ‘it’s a horrible thing, it’s not your fault’, get that person’s information. It’s crucial. A lot of the times people walk into my office and they take it for granted that the police are going to find that witness, they’re going to get the witnesses information and take a statement, a lot of time that doesn’t happen. If you have a witness, get their name, get their phone number, get that address, you want to follow up with them in the even there’s some dispute as how it actually happened. Other than that, you’ve done all you can at the scene, if you’re injured, go get yourself proper medical care, and if necessary contact personal injury attorney in Sacramento like myself at the Law Office of Fred Sette a Auto Accident Attorney in Sacramento. I can be reached at 916-710-8555 or fill out the contact form on our website.

Superbowl Sunday

If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, the significance of the intoxication is dramatic under California law. As a claimant for personal injuries one has the burden of proof to establish all elements of a Negligence case against the other driver. However, in that driving while under the influence is a criminal offense in the State of California (in fact now an offense in all states), if the driver is criminally convicted of that offense that conviction can be used to establish the driver’s negligence in the civil action. It is still your burden to establish the intoxication was a substantial factor in causing the accident however. An example of this may be, were the driver not intoxicated his reaction time would not have been diminished and he would have been able to avoid the child that had ran into the street after the ball. In this example, a violation of the DUI law can create a presumption of negligence against the driver in striking the child, a situation where if the driver were not drunk the child would most likely be placed at fault by any police agency.

Furthermore, if you are successful in establishing the intoxication of the driver, as part of your damages you may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish a wrongdoer for conduct that harmed the plaintiff, but these damages are only available in certain circumstances. California law allows for punitive damages in the event the defendant acts with Malice and Malice can be defined as acting with a knowing disregard of the rights or safety of another, aka drunk driving. The downside of obtaining a punitive damages award against a drunk driver is that insurance companies are not obligated to pay for such under the terms of the policy. So, depending on the defendant, this award may or may not be recoverable.

SFO Runway Death Leads to New Training

San Francisco news reports that firefighters working at San Francisco International Airport will be receiving additional training on the appropriate protocol in responding to emergencies.  This past summer, a teenage girl was run over and killed by two emergency vehicles while she was lying injured on the runway.    According to reports, the SFFD airport division will receive an additional 40 to 80 hours of disaster training next year. 

One of the three Chinese teenagers who died in the accident was a 16-year-old girl who survived the crash but became covered in firefighting foam and was run over by two fire trucks as she lay wounded on the runway.  Reports show that Ye Meng Yuan was struck twice — once by a fire rig spraying foam and again 11 minutes later by a second truck that was turning around to fetch water.

At a NTSB hearing earlier this week, a representative of the department's airport stated, “There are many lessons to be learned here."

The NTSB also concluded that the Asiana Flight 214 pilot didn’t fully understand the plane’s auto-throttle system and mistakenly believed that the computers would keep the plane above the minimum speed set for landing.  This miscalculation ultimately led to the deadly airplane crash.   The pilot, Kang-Kuk, was in training at the time of the accident.

It is unknown whether any personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits will be filed as the result of this accident.    A wrongful death lawsuit is similar to a personal injury claim and may be filed by the surviving family members of a victim who has been killed as the result of another’s reckless or negligent conduct.

For more information concerning wrongful death or negligence, please contact a top Sacramento personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.

California Truck Accident Kills One

California news reports that a big rig accident over the weekend killed a truck driver.  According to sources, the driver was killed after the 18-wheeler crashed at about 8:05 p.m. as it was entering Harbor Scenic Drive in Long Beach.   The truck hit the south curb, swerved into the center median and hit a pillar.  The tractor flipped over, causing the fuel tank to explode into a ball of fire.  The driver was killed at the scene.  

California big rig crashes are some of the nations most deadly forms of transportation incidents.  Due to an 18-wheeler’s size, once a driver loses control of the truck, it may be hard to contain the damage.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, it is critical to consult with a skilled Sacramento truck accident attorney right away.

While this accident remains under investigation, it is important to bear in mind a few tips for sharing the road with big rigs. 

Truck drivers have a responsibility to drive safely and with care, however other drivers on the road also need to be aware of special considerations concerning trucks in order to avoid catastrophic injuries. It is often the unanticipated actions of automobiles, which set into motion truck and car collisions. In fact, one of the top reasons behind truck/car accidents is the car driver either making a driving error or changing lanes abruptly without providing trucks adequate time or space to adjust their path.

Other potential problems arise from following a truck too closely, driving in a truck’s blind spot and distracted driving. Studies indicate that car drivers fail to understand both the difficulty of maneuvering a truck and the potential for grave consequences when car drivers make seemingly small driving errors. For more information or if you or a loved one has been injured in a California big rig accident, please contact the top Sacramento big rig accident lawyers at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.

San Francisco International Airport Issues Release About Asiana Accident

Officials have released a statement concerning last summer’s Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport that killed three people and injured more than 180.  According to the press release, the airport gave itself high marks in many different areas including a strong sense of shared goals among those who responded to the accident. 

The incident has been under scrutiny to determine whether negligence played a role in the accident.  Here the investigation continues, and no findings of negligence have been made.

However, in situations where negligence or recklessness leads to a fatality, surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.    A wrongful death lawsuit is similar to a personal injury claim but is filed by the family members of the deceased.   Generally, a wrongful death claim may be brought in any type of accident that results in death.  Recovery may include:

  • Medical costs 
  • Funeral expenses 
  • Punitive damages for death by negligence 
  • Loss of love Loss of companionship 
  • Loss of the moral support of the decedent 
  • Loss of the financial support or household services which you would have received from the decedent

For more information concerning wrongful death claims and when it may be possible to file such action, it is critical to speak with a knowledgeable California wrongful death attorney

While the airport did find areas for improvement such as the need to have more integrated and coordinated medical resources and procedures, it did not mention any findings concerning the death of a passenger who survived the crash, but died after a San Francisco fire truck ran over her en route to put out a fire on the plane. 

If you have questions about wrongful death or personal injury lawsuits, please contact an experienced Sacramento personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.

BART Operator In Fatal Railway Accident Was A Trainee

A report issued following the recent fatal Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) accident reveals that the driver was still a trainee and not certified to drive the train.  According to an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, the man who was operating the train that killed two workers inspecting a section of track, was taking a “training and maintenance run” when the accident occurred.  Sources say that unions for the striking workers had warned that it would be dangerous for inexperienced operators to drive the trains after a representative of BART had stated it would train drivers to provide shuttle services during the railroad workers strike.  This finding will likely lead to additional questions such as whether the railroad was negligent or could be held liable in a California wrongful death action. 

Whenever a serious personal injury accident occurs, several questions concerning liability, negligence and cause arise.  While major transportation accidents often involve the NTSB, it is also important for an injured party or their family members to consult with an experienced Sacramento personal injury attorney who can begin an investigation into the incident on their behalf.  A skilled California accident attorney can look at all of the factors that cause or contributed to a particular incident and help you determine your next steps.  

For example in this instance one issue that may arise is whether the railroad was negligent in allowing the trainee to drive the train and whether this negligence was the cause of the workers’ deaths. If so, the railroad may be liable and responsible for damages. Further, railroad workers are one of the few types of employees not covered by traditional state worker’s compensation. However, the workers and their families may receive workers’ compensation benefits through different systems such as the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, also called the Railroad Workers Act. This act permits railroad workers not covered by their state’s workers’ compensation system to sue their employer for their industrial accidents and recover damages such as medical treatment and lost wages, and can also include pain and suffering damages. Many issues are raised whenever an individual suffers a serious personal injury or dies as the result of another’s negligence.

For more information or if you or a loved one has been injured in a California accident, please contact the top Sacramento personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.

Venice Beach Boardwalk Accident Blamed On Mechanical Problems

Months after the horrific boardwalk car accident that killed an Italian newlywed, a representative of the driver has stated that the driver never intended to harm anyone. He explains that this was not an intentional act, it was a “horrendous accident” that may have been the result of mechanical problems. 

 Prosecutors have claimed that it appeared that the car's driver had been aiming for pedestrians while driving down the popular boardwalk at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour as people screamed and scrambled to get out of the way.

However, the latest information asserts that the car was not in perfect working order, and that “There's much more to this story."

If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of car accident, it is important to consult with a top Sacramento personal injury attorney right away.    Often, a skilled accident lawyer can begin an investigation into an incident and uncover several different factors that may have caused or contributed to the accident.  Because California is a contributory negligence state it may be possible to recover compensation from various different sources.   

In this instance, if mechanical issues were to blame – even partially – injured parties may be able to recover damages in a negligence or wrongful death action.   Further, it is important to remember that often both civil and criminal cases may arise out of car accidents – especially where reckless driving or drunk driving may be involved.  In these instances the determination of guilt in one proceeding may be used as evidence in the other. 

For more information about car accidents or if you or a loved one has suffered a serious personal injury, please contact a top Sacramento personal injury lawyer  at the Law Offices of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.  

Evidence Suggests Truck Driver To Blame In San Francisco Bike Accident

San Francisco news has reported that a surveillance video shows that the driver of a truck may be responsible in last month’s bicycle accident at the intersection of Folsom and Sixth streets. The accident killed Amelie Le Moullac, a young cyclist on the way to work.  Video of the driver of a food delivery truck shows that he made critical errors and may have been driving too fast to safely make the turn.  According to a representative, he failed to get into the bike lane, which is the proper procedure when there's a bike lane and you're making a right turn."  

The family is considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit as a result of the accident.  A wrongful death lawsuit is similar to a personal injury lawsuit but is brought by the surviving family members of an individual killed as the result of the recklessness or negligence of another.  If you have lost a loved one as the result of the actions of another, it is important to consult with a top Sacramento wrongful death attorney right away.  A skilled wrongful death attorney can begin an investigation into all of the factors that may have lead to an incident.  In this instance, the bicyclist was initially blamed for her injuries.  However, a member of the bicycle coalition uncovered surveillance video that shows that although the truck had its blinker on, Le Moullac was right next to the cab and couldn't see it.

Further, the truck driver’s speed made it impossible for him to to safely make the turn.  Reports also reveal that the truck driver failed to get into the bike lane, which is the proper procedure when there's a bike lane and you're making a right turn.  In a statement following the announcement of the wrongful death lawsuit, the trucking company noted "Daylight Foods deeply regrets that one of its trucks was involved in a fatal accident, and we extend our sincerest sympathies to Amelie Le Moullac's family and friends. Daylight Foods takes traffic safety very seriously, and we are deeply saddened by this tragedy.”

For more information or if you or a loved one has suffered a serious personal injury, please contact the top Sacramento wrongful death lawyers at the Law Offices of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.

San Jose Hit-and-Run Collision Kills Two

San Jose authorities are searching for a driver in a suspected hit-and-run accident that occurred early this morning.  The head-on collision killed two women.  Reports indicate that the women were riding in a Toyota Yaris and had taken a left when someone driving a Mercedes sedan slammed into the front of the car.  Just a few minutes earlier police had attempted to pull over the Mercedes sedan after they had seen it driving erratically.   The vehicle drove rapidly through a red light, turning left onto First St., at which point the officers decided not to engage in what they said would have been a risky pursuit on city streets.

If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of car accident – including head-on collisions – it is important to consult with a skilled Sacramento car accident attorney right away.  A knowledgeable car collision attorney can begin an investigation into all of the factors surrounding your case and help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

The tragic deaths of the two women in this instance was compounded by the fact that the responsible driver fled the scene.    Most states including California require that a driver stop as soon as is safe following an accident.  California Vehicle Code Sec. 20001 provides that any driver regardless of fault must stop after an accident that involves property damage or personal injury and exchange identifying information.   In the event you are not the owner of the car, you must also provide the name and address of the registered owner. 

However, despite laws requiring drivers to stop, people may still flee the scene of an accident for a variety of reasons.  Many times, individuals simply panic and don’t know what to do.  They may be scared, but then later contact the authorities to report an accident.  Other times, a hit-and-run accident may be the result of drunk driving.  In these situations a driver may fear arrest and fail to stop, making the situation and potential penalties even worse.  Whatever the motivation, it’s always better to stop than to flee the scene of an accident.

In this instance, the driver fled on foot.  Police continue their investigation.

For more information, please contact a top Sacramento personal injury lawyer at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.

Sacramento Man Dies In Motorcycle Accident

California news reports that a Sacramento man has died in an Elkgrove motorcycle collision. The accident occurred when the 63-year-old man riding the motorcycle collided with the side of a minivan at the intersection of Elkgrove Boulevard and Bradshaw Road. The man died at the scene from injuries sustained in the motorcycle crash. The driver of the minivan, a woman, received minor injuries in the accident. The children who were passengers in the van were not injured. While the motorcycle accident remains under investigation, no indication exists that alcohol or any other substance was a factor in the collision.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a California motorcycle accident or other type of motorvehicle crash, it's a good idea to consult with an experienced Sacramento accident attorney right away. A skilled Sacramento personal injury lawyer can begin an investigation into all of the factors surrounding a particular incident and ensure you receive all of the compensation you are entitled to. Even where an injured party is partly at fault for an accident, under California's comparative negligence law it may be possible to recover damages.

This accident serves as a tragic reminder about motorcycle safety and precautions all drivers and riders should keep in mind. Statistics reveal that more than 100,000 motorcycle accidents occur each year. Further, more than two-thirds of deaths from motorcycle accidents involve motorcycle collisions with another car on the road - often because the car doesn't see the motorcycle at all or is unable to avoid the crash once they do see the motorcyclist. Whether the minivan didn't see the motorcyclist is certainly an issue raised by this accident.

In an effort to improve safety on the road and prevent more serious motorcycle accidents and deaths, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has created rider safety initiatives including:

• Don't forget your helmet. Despite California's mandatory helmet laws, many motorcyclists leave their helmets at home. This is a big mistake - wearing a helmet is the number one way to prevent serious injuries and deaths. NHTSA statistics reveal that in 2008 (the latest years' statistics available), more than 1800 lives were saved as the result of wearing a helmet.

• All drivers need to share the road - whether your driving a car, operating a motorcycle or riding a bike - everyone has the same rights and privileges to use California's roadway.

• Avoid "distracted driving." Anyone operating any type of motorvehicle whether a car, truck or motorcycle should avoid "distracted driving" and put away his or her cell phone.

• Don't drink and drive. Just as in drunk driving car accidents, alcohol plays a large role in motorcycle fatalities. Alcohol affects those skills essential to riding a motorcycle - balance and coordination - which contributes to statistics showing that the percentage of intoxicated motorcycle riders in fatal crashes is greater than the percentage of intoxicated drivers on our roads.

For more information, or if you or a loved one has been injured in a Sacramento motorcycle accident, please contact a dedicated Sacramento personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.