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Driver Linked To Fresno Bus Accident Was Drunk

According to Sonoma County's PressDemocrat, the driver of the SUV which led to the tragic bus accident near Fresno was drunk.

Sylvia Lopez Garay had a blood-alcohol level of 0.11. California's legal limit is 0.08.

The accident occurred after Garay's SUV rolled over on Highway 99. Garay and her passengers exited the vehicle, leaving the overturned truck in the fast lane. Witnesses report that the Greyhound bus driver didn't have enough time to react as he approached the overturned vehicle, first crashing into the SUV, then another vehicle, before careening off an embankment and into a large tree.

Although the accident is still under investigation, it appears that drunk driving played a role in this tragedy. In California and across the United States, driver intoxication is a leading cause of accidents. In fact, Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that one person dies every 30 minutes due to an alcohol related crash.

The good news is most California towns are reporting a decrease in DUI accidents as compared to 2009. However a few cities, such as Santa Cruz, report a dramatic increase in DUIs.

As a personal injury attorney concerned about safety on California roadways, I urge you not to drink and drive. For more information or if you or a loved one has been injured in a DUI accident, please contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, dedicated to helping the injured for more than 15 years.

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.

Fatal Antioch Motorcycle Accident Kills 2

According to KTVU San Francisco, two people were killed in a hit and run accident on the Highway 4 Bypass when a pick-up truck swerved into the lane of another car. The car then crossed the median and hit a motorcycle head on. Both the driver and passenger were thrown from the motorcycle and died shortly thereafter. The pick-up driver fled the scene and the driver of the car sustained serious injuries to her leg.

The motorcycle crash is still under investigation.

Unfortunately, the potential for serious injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents is great. Motorcycle drivers have little protection from the impact of a crash, and as a result, falls from motorcycles often end in serious, even fatal, injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 5,000 motorcycle deaths occur each year in the United States.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or motorcycle accident, please contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette, a California personal injury attorney committed to helping those injured in accidents for over 15 years.

California Medical Malpractice On The Rise

According to the SanFrancisco Chronicle, avoidable medical mistakes are on the rise in the Bay Area and throughout California.

A recent report entitled "Events that a never supposed to happen in state hospitals," spells out in frightening detail the frequency of "never" events - i.e. things that are never supposed to happen in California hospitals.

For example, just last year California hospitals reported close to 200 cases of foreign objects left in patents after surgery. At San Francisco General, a 4-by-8-inch piece of surgical sponge was left inside a patient after an eight-hour surgery. The patient had to undergo additional surgeries just to correct the physician's error.

Other alarming statistics include a 100% increase in surgeries performed on the wrong patient, a 78% increase in bedsores acquired after admission, a 36% increase in deaths associated with a fall and a whopping 131% increase in sexual assaults on patients.

Recent studies have shown safety measures are the key to reducing California medical malpractice.

As a California personal injury attorney concerned about medical malpractice, I am hopeful that these studies exposing the problems throughout many California hospitals will finally bring needed changes to the care provided.

Millions Approved To Improve Sacramento's Roadways - Including "Blood Alley" - And To Prevent California Car Accidents

According to the Central Valley Business Times, the Sacramento area will receive close to $250 million to improve its roadways. Significantly, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) has approved $45 million to widen Highway 46, a dangerous two-lane highway that serves as a major link to the Central Coast.

Highway 46 has received much notoriety as a deadly stretch of highway. Dubbed "blood alley," since April 2005 there have been 391 car accidents, with 130 injuries and 24 deaths on that stretch of road.

Most recently, on April 6 three people were killed and two seriously injured in a head-on collision, about 2 miles west of Lost Hills.

Other improvements include substantial rehabilitation of Highway 99 and resurfacing of Interstate 5 from Florin Road to the Sacramento/San Joaquin County line.

The projects are a welcome improvement for Sacramento's roadways. As a Sacramento personal injury attorney, I understand the impact dangerous and poorly maintain roadways can have on a driver's safety. Too often, even the best drivers are caught off guard - and injury accidents occur - when dangerous road conditions obscure their vision or require quick reflexes.

Hopefully, as a result of these changes and improvements, Highway 46 will lose its reputation as one of California's most dangerous roads.

Marin County Head Injury May Lead To Metal Bat Ban

On Wednesday, California lawmakers advanced a bill that would ban the use of metal bats in high school for two years.

This ban comes after a teenager was hospitalized and remains in critical condition with a severe head injury after he was hit by a line drive. Principals from the 10 highschools in the Marin County Athletic League have already banned the use of metal bats at games.

The accident has spurred discussions throughout Marin County, and now the legislature, regarding what is safe for highschool sports. Because metals bats can hit harder than wooden bats, the risk of head and brain injuries is greater. Despite the Marin County ban, the North Coast Section (which governs highschool sports from the Bay Area up the coast) did not pass a ban for their teams - arguing that using wooden bats would put their teams at a competitive disadvantage.

The dialogue surrounding the use of metal bats is similar to many discussions throughout the years pitting sports safety against fun, comfort, convenience and competition. Sporting event safety - both for players and spectators - is often not a concern until a highly publicized event calls people into action.

As an avid sports fan and California personal injury attorney, I believe the time to act on safety measures is before serious accidents occur.

Safety Measures Key To Reducing California Medical Malpractice

Although it seems obvious, the first study with conclusive empirical evidence that the best way to reduce medical malpractice litigation is to reduce medical malpractice, was just released by the Rand Institute for Civil Justice. The number of malpractice cases is directly correlated to the number of mistakes and bad outcomes at hospitals throughout California.

Experienced California medical malpractice attorneys are needed in order to represent those who suffer injuries as the result of hospital and physician malpractice.

The Rand report concluded that by making improvements in safety, both patients and insurance providers would benefit. Further, although these findings were based on studies of California medical malpractice, including practices in Sacramento and throughout the Central Valley, these findings are applicable nationwide.

The Rand study noted the following:

• A significantly high correlation between adverse events and malpractice claims

• A decrease of 10 adverse events would lead to a decrease of 3.7 claims

• Decreasing malpractice claims reduces pressure on malpractice insurance providers to increase premiums

Although these seem like common sense findings, the Rand study is the first to set forth empirical evidence validating these claim. As a California personal injury attorney concerned about medical malpractice and the possibility of wrongful death, I hope this study encourages policymakers to focus on improved safety performance rather than so called "tort reform." As a result, health care costs and malpractice claims could be lowered significantly, not to mention the greatest benefit of all - improving the quality of patient care.

Bicycling Now Legal On Sacramento's K Street Mall

After a 23-year ban, bicyclists were allowed back on the K Street Mall this week. Bicyclists can now legally ride on the Mall from 7th to 13th Streets and in the tunnel connecting 2d and 4th Streets.

Bicyclists were originally banned from the K Street Mall in 1987 to avoid bicycle accidents after light-rail tracks were installed.

The Department of Transportation stated in a news release that lifting the ban on bicycles on K Street Mall is "another important accomplishment toward creating and maintaining a safe and reliable multi-modal transportation for the city and the region."

Bicycling is an increasingly popular mode of transportation in Sacramento and throughout the area including the cities of San Francisco, Davis and Palo Alto which rank among the Top Ten Best bicycling cities the United States.

Keeping in mind a few simple safety tips will help prevent bicycling accidents and limit their severity if they occur. These include:

• Wearing your helmet. Wearing a helmet significantly decreases the possibility of sustaining a brain injury if you're in an accident.

• Obey speed limits and rules of the road. In crowded areas such as K Street it's important to be alert, not exceed the speed limit (10 mph) and use appropriate hand signals.

• Yield to Pedestrians. Not only can bicycle/car collisions lead to injuries, so can bicycle/pedestrians collisions.

As a Sacramento bicycling accident attorney and biking enthusiast, I applaud Sacramento's efforts to be a bike friendly city. If you have any questions regarding bicycle safety, or if you or a loved one has been in bicycling accident, please contact the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette.